COVID-19 may have caused a very significant drop in the Australian job market in 2020, but the resilience of our employment sector has been on full display in 2021. In March this year, SEEK reported the highest number of job ads posted in a single month in their 23+ year history.
The job market moves in surprising and unexpected ways. Lockdowns in NSW and VIC have had a follow-on effect and somewhat slowed the rapid growth rate of job ads that we saw earlier in the year, but it is still an incredible time for candidates looking for work. Let’s dig into this further.
Three Reasons to Look Now
- Jobs Growth
The dramatic increase in job availability that we’ve seen this year is, of course, partially attributable to roles becoming available that were displaced last year. However, the surprising element is that many industries are now experiencing growth that surpasses pre-COVID levels.
Our economy has bounced back from last year’s recession, exceeding expectations and even growing larger than prior to COVID. In a June Financial Times interview Kristian Kolding, an economist at Deloitte Access Economics, said “Australia is in rare company here. Only five other countries can boast an economy that’s larger now than before the pandemic. And we achieved that goal while keeping COVID numbers lower than almost anywhere else.”
The current lockdowns shouldn’t be overly concerning for job seekers. Our employment market has proven itself to be incredibly resilient. Australia’s vaccine rollout may have started slowly, but we now have one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world, so the situation right now in VIC and NSW should only be a short-term nuisance.
- Supply is Low and Job Application Rates Are Down
Companies are struggling to find the talent they need to fill roles. The pandemic has created an air of uncertainty, which has led to people sticking with the “comfortable” and the “familiar”. They have an unfounded fear that if they change roles, they might be the first one out the door in a restructure.
Unfortunately, this might also mean they are staying with a job they have outgrown or that they are bored with. Take advantage of this. If you’re one of the few people willing and able to change positions at this moment, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at the range of options out there.
- Candidate have more power
If you’re looking to diversify or enter a new industry, now’s the time to give that a go. Shop yourself around – there are opportunities out there that may not have existed before and companies are willing to take risks with people that might not tick every box. Also, if money is your key driver, you may be in a position now to negotiate a salary that’s eluded you in the past.
You’re also not as bound by geography as you might have been pre-COVID. Candidates know that the landscape is different now and there probably won’t be the expectation for them to be in an office five days a week moving forward. In other words, this presents a chance to look further afield. It allows you to be pickier and look for a job you are genuinely passionate about, rather than simply one that is geographically convenient.