Industries Impacted by COVID-19 in Australia

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On 22 March, Australia did something that even a couple of weeks prior would have seemed unimaginable: it introduced Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings that saw many businesses across the nation close their doors. And as the COVID-19 outbreak continued to spread in the weeks to follow, the Australian government introduced even stricter regulations that only allowed residents to leave their homes for essential activities and shopping—resulting in even more business closures.

Now, weeks later, we’ve seen the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic have had on the Australian labour market. But, while some businesses have shut their doors and others have adapted their services, there are some industries that haven’t been hit as hard by the coronavirus outbreak. So let’s take a closer look at a few of the industries that have been most, and least, impacted by COVID-19 in Australia.

Industries most impacted by COVID-19

Sectors seeing larger than average declined, 2019 v 2020

Human resources, Hospitality and tourism, Sports, Childcare, Beauty and wellness

Beauty and wellness

While hair salons are still open and allowed to offer their normal services as long as they abide by social distancing measures, many other businesses in the beauty and wellness industry, such as nail salons, beauty therapy salons and massage parlours, have been forced to close their doors. And given the type of services these businesses provide, switching to an online or takeaway only model is impossible, resulting in a significant hit for the beauty and wellness sector in Australia.


With almost all major sporting events temporarily cancelled both nationally and internationally, the sports industry has taken a large hit. For example, big global events that normally attract hundreds of thousands of spectators such as the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and Wimbledon, have either been postponed or cancelled. In Australia, we have also seen a long list of games that have been suspended due to the coronavirus. But, with some leagues planning new, restructured seasons that help limit the spread of COVID-19, we could see some sporting codes in Australia restarting sooner than anticipated.

Hospitality and tourism

Due to the fact that the hospitality and tourism industry heavily relies on social activities that can no longer be practised because of social distancing measures, these businesses were one of the first to be shut down in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak. As a result, the hospitality and tourism industry has been one of the most impacted sectors, with some even entering voluntary administration.

But, many businesses including cafes, pubs and restaurants, have found a way to adapt to the new norm, such as offering take-away and home delivery services, and even selling staple grocery items to their customers.

Industries least impacted by COVID-19

Sectors seeing smaller than average declines, 2020 v 20219

Nursing, Driving, Social science, Industrial engineering, Medical technicians


Nurses play a crucial role in our health system and their importance is being seen now more than ever—especially given Australia’s ageing population and the outbreak of COVID-19. In fact, earlier in 2020, the healthcare industry was predicted to be a booming one, even experiencing the strongest wage growth in the Australian labour market. As a result, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is one of the least impacted industries by coronavirus. Job seekers have  caught on, with searches for ‘Registered Nurse’ performing 136%1 above the average site performance on Indeed.


As more people stay home and turn to online ordering, the demand for drivers has not been as heavily impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, not only has the industry seen a smaller than average decline in job postings on Indeed, but it has also seen a huge spike in job seeker interest, with driver roles being searched for by job seekers 9%1 more than the average site performance on Indeed.

Social science

Demand for professionals in social science has held up throughout COVID-19, largely due to the strong job postings for psychologists. With a number of organisations such as BeyondBlue and Lifeline, offering counselling services to those who may be struggling to cope with the impacts of the coronavirus, psychologists are playing an important role in our mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or anyone you know needs support or information about anxiety, stress or depression, visit Healthdirect for a list of helplines available.

While almost all industries have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, we have seen some businesses adapt their services and products to better fit the world today. Even more so, we’ve seen some industries needing to hire more staff to help meet consumer demands. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that the world of work during the coronavirus pandemic is ever-changing, and with some states starting to ease some restrictions, the future impact of COVID-19 on Australian industries is also continuously changing.


To measure the trends in job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of AU job postings on Indeed. We index each day’s 7-day moving average to 1 Feb for that year (1 Feb, 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on), or another date if specified on the chart.

We report how the trend in job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labour market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings for a country increased 5% from 1 February, 2019, to 28 March, 2019, but fell 25% from 1 February, 2020, to 28 March, 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 105 in 2019 and fallen 100 to 75 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 29% on 28 March (75 is 29% below 105) in 2020 relative to 2019.

Information based on publicly available information on the Indeed AU website, limited to Australia, is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.

1Indeed data

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