The job market reaches herd immunity

Seek Job ad numbers throughout the COVID pandemic have reflected market confidence. Job ad numbers not only give a good insight into the employment landscape, but also offer a useful barometer of business confidence. Of course, not every role is advertised on see, but as Australia’s leading job site with over 25 million visits per month, it’s a great indication of the current job market.

Looking back to February 2020, there were 145,000 jobs advertised on Seek nationally. This included full-time, part-time, casual, contract, IT, trades, finance, HR…. the lot. At the height of COVID concerns in April, Seek advertisements dropped to just 43,000. That’s a 70% decrease across the board. Not all pockets of the market were impacted identically, though it’s fair to say nearly every corner of the market was suffering.

Jump forward to February 2021, where community transmission is low across Australia and COVID vaccines aren’t far away, there are more reasons to be positive than any time over the past year. There are still some dark clouds on the horizon with the end of the Jobkeeper program nearing, certain sectors of the market continue to struggle such as travel and the international pandemic landscape is still poor. So what does that mean for job numbers here in Australia?

Well, it’s fair to say the job market has already achieved herd immunity. Today there are 163,000 jobs being advertised on Seek. That’s a 12% increase on pre-pandemic levels, and a massive 379% improvement from late April.

Our feeling here at SustainAbility Consulting is that companies who cut hard on the way down during the pandemic, now find themselves chasing quality people as we emerge on the other side. There are also pockets of the market that have done exceptionally well out of the COVID situation, eCommerce and logistics being two obvious examples, and quite simply need more people than what they did pre-pandemic.

The local war for talent has resumed in earnest.