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COVID-19: Australian Hiring Continues to Improve


Australian hiring activity continues to improve throughout May, with new job opportunities rising sharply.

Key points:

  1. Australian job postings are 52% lower than their trend at the same point last year, continuing their recent improvement. 
  2. New job postings have almost doubled from their post-Easter low but will need to double again to return to their pre-crisis trend.   
  3. Hiring activity across a range of sectors, such as real estate and beauty & wellness, is showing clear signs of improvement. 

Australia has few timely measures that help to identify the impact of COVID-19 on labour market conditions. Job postings from Indeed is one of the few, with data updated daily and never more than a few days old. 

As this crisis unfolds, we will be updating our data on job postings regularly. So feel free to return for the latest snapshot on Australian hiring.

Australia job postings

As at 15 May, Australian job postings on Indeed AU were tracking 52% lower than their trend at the same stage last year. Hiring activity has deviated sharply from trend following a widespread shutdown of economic activity to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

Nevertheless, in recent weeks, there are clear signs of improvement. New job postings, defined as those on Indeed AU for seven days or less, have almost doubled since their trough on 19 April. They will need to double again to return to its pre-crisis trend but it is a positive first step. 

Some sectors are improving

Hiring activity for every sector remains well below last year’s trend, with drivers and nurses the clear standouts throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Both occupations have played an important role in Australia during the pandemic, either by treating the virus or helping businesses connect with their customers. Yet job postings for drivers and nurses are still tracking 21% and 30%, respectively, below last year’s trend. 

Hiring activity across other sectors has been much weaker. Job postings for hospitality & tourism, sports, childcare and pharmacy are all down 80% or more compared with last year’s trend.   

But there is some good news. Hiring activity across many sectors is improving, reflecting the lifting of some restrictions on economic and social activity. Compared with a week ago, job postings for real estate roles have increased 13% points against last year’s trend. Postings for beauty & wellness are up 10.3% points and dental up 9.2% points. 

More than half of all sectors are tracking closer to trend this week than they were last week. 

Unfortunately, postings for some sectors have deteriorated further. Social sciences, mainly reflecting psychologists, fell by 21% points compared with last year’s trend. Legal roles fell by 9.3% points. 

Restrictions have been relaxed in recent weeks prompting an improvement in hiring activity across the country. That is likely to continue in coming weeks, with restrictions relaxed on hospitality – one of the hardest hit sectors from COVID-19. We shouldn’t expect the economy to snap back to what it was pre-crisis, at least not initially, but our economy is beginning to return to something resembling normal. 

Methodology

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.