Job advertisement rates show grim reality for Aussie job seekers

As a result of companies slashing budgets, many have put in place hiring freezes, with SEEK reporting a severe downturn in job advertisements according to their April 2020 Employment Report.

Victoria and New South Wales were the hardest hit states with job ads decreasing by 56.3 per cent and 52.4 per cent respectively. Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory had slightly lower levels of decline at minus 42.4 per cent, minus 43.9 per cent and minus 41.9 per cent.

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Speaking to, the Managing Director of SEEK ANZ, Kendra Banks said this was because as the most populated states, NSW and Victoria also have the most job opportunities.

“When the coronavirus pandemic started to impact these states, we saw job ad volumes soften, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne metropolitan areas,” she said.

“During April, industries such as retail and consumer products and hospitality and tourism, which make large contributions to job ad volumes, were limited in the way they could operate, and we saw significant declines.

“Corporate hirers also paused their recruitment activity, which impacted industries such as information, communication and technology and professional services roles, which are also sectors that make big contributions to the employment market.”

Compared to 2019 job advertising rates, 2020 figures have been slashed by more than half of what they were.

However, the job market could be on the mend, based on data from the first two weeks of May.

“April was the first full calendar month where we had a clear indication of how coronavirus was impacting the employment market,” said Ms Banks.

The full set of social isolation measures were not imposed until mid-March, which explains why March job ad declines were minus 27.4 per cent, compared to April’s decline of minus 49.9 per cent.”

While all states and territories have reported a decrease in job ads, some have been impacted more than others. Picture: Seek.Source:Supplied

The job market was hit with the largest decline in the week ending April 19 when job ads were down 69.1 per cent compared to the same week in 2019.

There could be a spark of hope, however. In the week ending in May 10, job advertising had shifted upwards to minus 59.7 per cent compared to the same week in 2019.

That 10 per cent increase could indicate we “may have turned a corner,” said Ms Banks.

Job ads are “slowly” on the rise too.

“In the first two weeks of May, we have seen job ad volumes slowly creep back up, which aligns to the will of governments to get the economy moving and get people back into jobs,” she said.

“We know this will take some time, which is why we are cautious to be too positive at this point.”

A report from the Grattan Institute predicted between 14 to 26 per cent of Australian workers could have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus shutdown. Picture: William West/AFP.

A report from the Grattan Institute predicted between 14 to 26 per cent of Australian workers could have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus shutdown. Picture: William West/AFP.Source:AFP

When it came to which industries would prove most difficult for job seekers, those in human resources and recruitment, legal and administration and office support will have it the hardest, with those sectors reporting a 69.1 per cent, 67.3 per cent and 64.2 per cent drop in job ads.

Due to social distancing measures, retail and hospitality and tourism industries have also suffered with month on month job ad declines of 55 per cent and 59.6 per cent respectively.

While strict lockdown measures are slowly being eased in Australia, May figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the grisly impact of restrictions. Their findings showed that almost one million people were out of work due to COVID-19, with the number of jobs falling by 7.5 per cent between March 14 and April 18.

The value of wages paid also slumped by 8.2 per cent and unemployment is expected to hit at least 10 per cent by June, which is double the current figure.


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