Hiring state of play: looking up in 2021

Throughout the lockdowns and daily limitations of COVID-19, there was a tangible change in the job market and nature of employment.

Now, thanks to easing domestic restrictions, the Australian economy continues to surge in 2021 and the job market is on the rebound. But which industries and occupations are currently faring best, and which are lagging?

The changing landscape of employment

Expect remote work and digital employment to continue rising. Australian employees are part of a global trend favouring more flexible working arrangements, with a PWC survey noting up to 72% of workers now prefer a mix of working from home and the office.

The ABS suggests that 41% of people are now working from home at least one day per week as of February 2021, compared with 24% the year before. LinkedIn’s Jobs on the Rise Report notes a 400% increase in remote job opportunities since June 2020, with increased remote job vacancies across industries including:

  • Finance
  • E-commerce
  • Social media/digital marketing
  • Freelance content

It also suggests that job opportunities that were previously geographically limiting can be opened to more candidates. With employers becoming flexible in implementing a hybrid working model of home and office, the opportunity to land your ideal career might actually be getting closer.

This means that basic digital skills like social media and copywriting are becoming increasingly valuable in the changing landscape – in particular, software development, data analysis, digital marketing and product management.

Changing careers

With such rapid changes in employment models across industries, it’s unsurprising that people are changing careers like never before. LinkedIn data suggests that post-pandemic, 33% of Australian workers are planning a career change, while another study puts that figure as high as 45%.

Millennials (the generation born roughly 1980-1994) are most receptive to ‘job-hopping’, with 46% being confident about a job change in coming months versus 36% in the market overall.

Recovering industries and where the opportunities lie

A recent Seek report shows an increase of 75% in national jobs advertised in March 2021 compared to March 2020, when COVID-19 first impacted the labour market. Additionally,  ABS figures for March 2021 show:

  • The unemployment rate is down to 5.6%
  • The number of employed Australians is up to 13,077,600
  • Employment to population ratio increased to 62.6%
  • Underemployment rate has decreased to 7.9%

Within this, there are few notable industries that are experiencing real growth. Termed the ‘care economy’, healthcare-related jobs like mental healthcare, frontline medical, and social workers are in demand and part of a growing industry that employs 1.5 million Australians.

Industries like construction, education, real estate and customer service are also healthy in the current employment market.

A promising trend across the board

While there is widespread optimism that all industries will strengthen in coming the months, it is an unfortunate reality that some industries have fared worse than others.

As noted in a recent report prepared for Parliament, accommodation, food services, arts and recreation services industries have experienced the greatest percentage loss of employment since the onset of COVID, with those aged 20-29, and over 60, disproportionately affected.

Despite this, according to Seek, March 2021 data shows:

  • A 75% increase in job advertisements from March 2020
  • Job ad increases in every state and territory, back to pre-COVID levels
  • Snap lockdowns in February showed only short-term effects on job advertisements
  • Some industries like farming, animals and conservation experienced a 40% growth rate in April

There’s also reason to be positive with reports showing:

  • 43% of businesses will be looking to increase their headcount in 2021
  • 43% of employers intending to increase salaries this year
  • 65% of companies believing that business conditions will improve from Q2 2021

Don’t hire in haste – due diligence is key

The employment landscape may be changing for the better, but it remains the responsibility of employers to continue their due diligence, ensuring their hiring policies and processes are fair and equitable for employees, and thorough enough to mitigate risk.

Thanks to the rise of remote work and hiring, many employers may never meet their employees in person, so the requirements of professionalism and due diligence on both sides remain as important as ever. The demand for roles to be filled quickly can also lead to hasty hiring practices, which businesses want to avoid.

Next steps

Conducting thorough due diligence doesn’t need to be a costly or time-consuming exercise.

CVCheck offers all its checks on one convenient online platform, with results delivered quickly, affordably and securely to thousands of employers each year.

Contact one of our background screening experts to discuss your specific screening and verification needs today.

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