Continues to evolve…

A lot has happened since the first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) had been confirmed in Australia on January 25, 2020. Following a summer of devastating bushfires, the pandemic has adversely impacted the economy, business cash flow and turnover. This unprecedented situation has determined how the population is limited in interaction, with strict social distancing measures in place globally.

While the employment market is constantly changing, and the hiring rate has declined significantly, there are still sectors and industries that are hiring to meet increased demand caused by the coronavirus. CMS are continually monitoring the landscape to ensure our clients can optimise the opportunities where they exist.


Abraham Lincoln


What the numbers are saying…

As at 3:00pm on 12 April 2020, there have been 6,313 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. Of the 6,313 confirmed cases, 59 have died from COVID-19. More than 353,000 tests have been conducted across the nation.

Current data shows the number of cases of coronavirus across the world has now passed two million – spreading to more than 185 countries and killing more than 119,000 people. Around 23,500 people have died in the US, the worst toll of any country.

On 8 April, Parliament passed the JobKeeper Payment Scheme, which will provide certain workers with a fortnightly payment of $1,500. The $130 billion scheme will assist up to 6 million Australians, with 760,000 businesses registered.

From the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey on Business Impacts of COVID-19 released 7 April 2020:

Two thirds (66%) of Australian businesses reported that turnover or cash flow had reduced as a result of COVID-19,

Nearly half (47%) of businesses made changes to their workforce arrangements as a result of COVID-19. For some businesses this included temporarily reducing or increasing staff working hours, changing the location where staff worked (including working from home) or staff being placed on leave.

Two in five businesses (38%) have changed how they deliver their products or services, including shifting to online services.

According to ANZ’s job ad series: Job ads fell 10.3% between February and March, the largest monthly fall since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

Worst fall in jobs since the GFC…

Most of the fall occurred over the second half of March as Australian COVID-19 cases escalated, restrictions on movement tightened, and shutdowns of non-essential services broadened.

Similar to hiring trends observed globally, we expect the decline in hiring growth in Australia to accelerate and deepen in the coming weeks. Of these, hospitality, travel and consumer goods retail (eg. fashion) industries have been hit the hardest.

Unemployment for March as a whole was 1.72 million (12.2%) and underemployment was 1.33 million (9.4%) but this obscures the huge change to the Australian economy that took place in mid-March: a limited rise due to JobKeeper, equivalent to the economic version of ‘flattening the curve’.

More than 1.3 million Australians or 9.4% of the workforce were underemployed, working part-time or looking for more work in March, up from (9% in February), but the data conceals the huge change in the economy that took place mid-month, as shown by the latest Roy Morgan employment figures.

In early March, underemployment dropped to 8.2%, but rose sharply as many businesses shut or scaled down, increasing by 374,000 people to 1.52 million, or 10.6% of the workforce.

Roy Morgan’s unemployment rate also jumped dramatically in the second half of March, up 1.4 million people to 2.4 million (16.8%), which is three times higher than the current (pre-pandemic) ABS estimate for February of 5.1%.

In total a record high 3.92 million (27.4%) of Australians were either unemployed or under-employed and looking for more work in the second half of March;

Westpac estimated unemployment would hit 17%, then pulled back to

9% with JobKeeper in place, CBA is estimating unemployment to rise to 7.8% based on JobKeeper keeping people employed but with a decline of 535,000 Australians this quarter.

Due to JobKeeper affecting official unemployment level figures, technically fast frequency spending data, change in consumer activity, change in wages (rather than with subsidy) and Job Ads are being viewed as a better measure of economic contraction and better indicators of economic activity.

With the worst fall in jobs since the GFC, there is urgent demand for workers in specific industries…


New job ad data paints a picture of the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market, with new job ads on Seek rapidly declining 65.3% in the first week of April compared to the same week last year.

Employment Crisis has intensified in March and April as the isolation continues…

The new weekly employment snapshot, which complements Seek’s monthly trends, highlights how the crisis has intensified since the start of March, with declines across all sectors. Job ads have fallen by 12.6% and 17.3% year-on-year in the first two weeks of March, respectively, then by 41.3% and 64.6% in the following two weeks.

As thousands of Australian workers are displaced by the coronavirus pandemic, several industries are “bucking the trend,” according to new LinkedIn data. The three industries most likely to serve as a “bright spot” for jobseekers are IT, healthcare, and finance.

Hiring activity has grown by more than 17% in software services and IT between February 10 and March 19. Similarly, it was up 12.6% in healthcare and 10.3% in finance. The impact of the virus is obvious in other sectors, however, with overall hiring activity declining by 25.6% for the period.

Two distinct changes are occurring in Australia’s labour market right now. Unfortunately there is a mass reduction in the number of jobs available at a national level, whilst simultaneously there is an urgent demand for workers in specific industries.

The biggest declines were seen in Victoria (71.6%) and NSW (67.4%). Overall job seeker visits to Seek are down, but application rates are up by over 40% for roles in call centre and customer service, hospitality and tourism, retail, and consumer products and sales.

The sectors where there are jobs include essential retail services across warehousing and distribution, manufacturing, mining and resources, ‘virtual working’ and digitisation, such as software development and cybersecurity, family support, healthcare, and customer support.

Opportunities are varying dependent on state/region.



When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves…Viktor E. Frankl

With change comes uncertainty for all of us, but also opportunity. The uncertainty is easy to see and hear from the daily bombardment from the media, and can often be disheartening. What is harder to see is often the opportunity unless you are proactively looking for them.


During this unique time, organisations must continue to look at making adjustments to ensure their viability, and plan for different potential scenarios to ensure success.

Many companies have already begun to implement effective pivot strategies from those looking at their supply chain, to how they can offer products and services in a social distancing environments, and the shift in demand.

Organisations have moved quickly from making alcohol to manufacturing hand sanitiser, from fast fashion to essential medical masks.

Other organisations are likely to move from standing down staff to undertaking further organisational changes and making roles redundant.

During this time of change, best practice is to ensure the

best advantage for their people by providing career transition support.

By providing the impacted individuals with professional outplacement services, it ensures everyone (transitioning employees, current employees and organisations) can move forward maintaining a professional company image, goodwill and reputation.

Opportunities dance with those already on the dance floor…


For individuals that find themselves job seeking during

this extraordinary time, companies in industries spanning from technology and communication, pizza delivery to retail are hiring to meet increased demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The best advice for anyone looking for work at the moment is to set aside time to optimise how your resume reads. In particular, take a targeted approach to showcasing experience and achievements, putting more emphasis on transferable skills that relate to the current work environment.

Ensure your experience aligns with your LinkedIN profile. Speak to a professional to get help to get your profile more visible.

With high competition for available roles – first impressions count. Confidence with virtual screening and job interviews are essential. Applicants will need to be prepared and wow via telephone and/or video interview.

In addition, ensure time is put into researching where the jobs are being advertised as well as activating your personal and professional network – it’s a great opportunity to stay connected with others via phone, email and online.

If you need some assistance with job search guidance, your written applications, interview preparation, or career coaching speak to a CMS consultant.

Remember – it’s critically important to be prepared, stay positive, ensure that you stick with your search and have patience…


At Career Management Services (CMS), our Career Consultants have unique knowledge and understanding in the job market, drawing on a depth of industry expertise from supporting clients professionally with career transition support. Our experienced consultants have recruited and coached through previous downturns

in the market such as the GFC, recession and stock market crashes. Those insights allow us to provide highly tailored career, job search strategies, and outplacement support to all levels of individuals who need to move to new jobs (at all levels – blue collar, white collar and executive). CMS also provides professional writing services for CV/resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and key selection criteria.

With CMS our people come first – helping our individual clients to find better jobs faster, with greater confidence and certainty, plus provide support to our organisational clients, to navigate change while looking after their people and achieving better holistic outcomes.