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No Jab, No Job: More Australian Employers Require Vaccination

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As vaccination rates approach key thresholds, Australian job postings on Indeed requiring vaccination have risen sharply.

Key Points

  • Around 2.8% of job postings on Indeed’s Australia site require vaccination, up around 635% since mid-August. 
  • The share of postings requiring vaccination is highest in Queensland and Victoria, although every state has experienced strong recent growth. 
  • Job postings noting vaccination requirements are 2.6 times higher in high-exposure fields, such as healthcare and education, than in other areas.  

As vaccination rates edge higher, New South Wales and Victoria plan to begin reopening their economies, learning to live with COVID-19. That process began in October and will continue over the remainder of the year as key vaccine thresholds are reached, most notably double vaccination of 70-80% of the eligible population.

In preparation for reopening, some Australian businesses are mandating or heavily encouraging employees to get vaccinated. Those businesses include a range of industry leaders, such as Qantas, Telstra and the major supermarket chains. In other cases, such as residential aged care, mandatory vaccination has been legislated

These requirements are showing up in newly created jobs. Tracking use of vaccine-related keywords in job descriptions on Indeed’s Australia website shows businesses are increasingly keen to attract vaccinated candidates. 

Strong growth in vaccination requirements

In the seven days ending October 23, 2.8% of job postings on Indeed’s Australia website noted  vaccination was required, having increased by around 635% since mid-August and more than doubling in October so far. 

In Australia, some vaccinations, such as influenza, are heavily encouraged across industries where workers regularly have contact with sick or vulnerable groups. These high-exposure fields include healthcare, education, childcare, personal care, pharmacy and veterinary services. As a consequence, Australia had a relatively high baseline of job postings requiring vaccination even before the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. 

Around 6.0% of high-exposure job postings on Indeed’s Australia site required vaccinations in early October—2.6 times higher than the 2.3% share for other occupations. These high-exposure occupations account for just 15% of overall job postings, but 30% of postings requiring vaccination. 

The posting share for high-exposure occupations has increased 355% since mid-August, compared with a 895% rise for other occupations. 

Line graph titled “Australian job postings requiring vaccinations.” With a vertical axis ranging from 0 to 5, Indeed tracked the share of job postings requiring vaccination along a horizontal axis ranging from January 1, 2021 to October 9, 2021, with different coloured lines representing “total,” “high-exposure,” and “other.” As of October 9, 2021, 4.8% of high-exposure job postings on Indeed Australia’s site required vaccinations, around four times higher than for other occupations, an increase of 260% since mid August 2021.

Queensland and Victoria driving the national trend

In the seven days ending October 23, 3.5% of Queensland, 3.1% of Victorian and 2.8% of New South Wales job postings had vaccination requirements, well above other states.

In every state, high-exposure occupations had higher vaccination requirements than other occupations, varying from 1.8 times higher in Victoria and South Australia to 4 times higher in Queensland. That ratio has narrowed in every state since mid-August.   

Table titled “AU vaccination requirements by state.” Indeed compared the percentage of job postings requiring vaccinations by Australian state, listing job postings in high-exposure and other occupations. As of October 9, 2021, 2.6% of Queensland and 1.8% of New South Wales job postings had vaccination requirements, well above other states.

It is not clear why vaccination requirements are higher in some states than others. A range of factors may explain the divergence, including differential progress on vaccine rollout, the number of COVID-19 cases and state government policies around vaccine requirement. 

However, there is good reason to expect some convergence as vaccination rates rise. For example, New South Wales and Victoria have had similar COVID-19 experiences, with lengthy lockdowns and high case numbers. Initially, New South Wales had a much higher level of job postings with vaccination requirements, perhaps reflecting their nation leading vaccination rates, but that has shifted in recent weeks as Victoria’s vaccination rate surged. 

Vaccine requirements surge among high-exposure occupations

Among occupations with surging vaccination requirements, healthcare stands out. As of October 23, 13% of nursing postings included vaccination requirements, up 9.6% points since mid-August. The vaccination share for medical technicians (+7.3% points), medical information (+6.7% points) and physicians & surgeons (+6.5% points) also rose sharply. 

A range of fields that haven’t traditionally required or encouraged vaccination have shifted recently, including therapy (+8.4% points), security & public safety (+7.3% points) and beauty & wellness (+5.6% points). 

Such has been the rate of growth, that by October 23, three-quarters of occupations had a vaccination rate higher than the national average at the beginning of the month. 

Yet, some occupations still have very low shares of job postings with vaccination requirements—including some surprises. These include arts & entertainment, sales and retail—three categories that have been sensitive to economic restrictions throughout the pandemic. 

Table titled “AU vaccination requirements by occupation.” Indeed listed the share of job postings requiring vaccination by various occupation group, including the share as of August 15, 2021, September 27, 2021, and the percentage point change compared to October 9, 2021, As of October 9, 2021, almost three-quarters of occupations had a vaccination posting share that was higher than the national average on August 15, 2021 before the surge in vaccination requirements began.

Conclusion

Postings featuring vaccination requirements represent a new and rapidly growing hiring trend. There have always been some roles that required or encouraged vaccinations. But now—and very quickly—vaccination is emphasised more broadly. 

With states and businesses anxious to avoid lockdown and keep case numbers low, vaccination will increasingly be required to take part in many day-to-day activities, including many jobs. With the trend emerging so rapidly, we will watch this development closely in the months ahead.

Methodology

We define vaccination job postings using an extensive list of terms such as ‘vaccine required’, ‘requires vaccination’, ‘must have vaccine’ and ‘vaccinated against’. In some cases, COVID-19 is not explicitly specified. 

High-exposure occupations were determined based on the Australian Immunisation Handbook, which lists a range of occupations associated with increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.