The COVID-19 pandemic is having a large impact on labour markets around the world, as seen in the rapid declines in online job posting trends. But not all countries appear to be equally affected. Job postings trends have generally declined more in countries where a higher share of employment was in occupations with lower work-from-home potential, such as hospitality, retail and personal care services.

To determine the share of employment in occupations with low work-from-home potential in each country, we used a recent classification of jobs that can be performed at home in the US. We mapped the occupations where fewer than one-third of jobs were estimated to have work-from-home potential to international occupational classifications and calculated the share of employment in those occupations. We used the latest available occupational data for the G7, Australia and selected European countries, where Indeed is a major job search platform. We found that job posting trends have generally fallen by 30% to 40% in countries where a greater share of employment was in occupations with lower work-from-home potential. This includes Australia, Canada, Ireland, Portugal and the UK – where the percentage of employment in occupations with low work-from-home potential ranges from 50% to 60%.

There are many reasons why each country’s labour market may respond differently to this crisis. They include differences in the timing and type of restrictions imposed in each country; differences in existing labour market institutions (such as allowing flexibility for short-term work); and differences in the policy response to the crisis (such as wage subsidies and financial support given to businesses).

Japan may be one example of such differences. As a country with a mid-level share of directly impacted occupations but a relatively small fall-off in job postings, it is an outlier in the chart. This could be due to its low level of infections per capita and, until recently, far fewer restrictions than in many other countries. But for most economies, it appears that the pre-crisis composition of employment is a feature strongly associated with current trends in job postings.

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We measure the trend in job postings using the methodology described in our regular job posting tracker. Information is based on publicly available information on the Indeed Ireland website (and other countries named in this post), limited to Ireland (and those countries), is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.