Covid-19 has had a crushing effect on our jobs market.
In fact, over half a million jobs have been lost from February to August before the start of all this chaos, according to analysis of ABS data in the Finder Jobs Market August 2020 report.
But not every industry has suffered during these six months: eight out of the 19 industries in Australia have seen more jobs since February.
What has caused these industries to thrive while others have suffered?
Let’s start at the beginning of the pandemic.
The jobs gone first (February – May)
Between February and May, a whopping 822,000 jobs were wiped out across Australia. Of these, almost 500,000 were from just three industries: arts, hospitality and transport.
Losers: Accommodation and Food Services saw 276,200 fewer jobs, losing 40 per cent of its workers. Transport, Postal and Warehousing followed with a loss of 94,600 jobs (-14 per cent) and Arts and Recreation Services lost 91,800 jobs (-36 per cent).
Winners: It was not all doom and gloom for every industry. Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services increased by 32,400 workers or 24 per cent of its workforce, due to higher demand on these services from more people working from home.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing saw an increase of 29,300 workers while Public Administration and Safety jumped by 17,800 people.
The fallout (June – August)
May to August paints a much prettier picture of the jobs market than the previous quarter. Jobs increased by 335,407 in August compared to May. Out of the 19 industries, 13 of them saw an increase in jobs during this quarter.
We’re also seeing signs of recovery in the hardest-hit industries of the previous quarter: Accommodation and Food Services, Arts and Recreation, and Transport, Postal and Warehousing.
Winners: Accommodation and Food Services increased by 108,299 or 17 per cent, as restaurants, cafes and food courts have begun re-opening. Arts and Recreation grew the most by proportion of its workforce, increasing by 30 per cent or 47,990 workers.
COVID-19 restrictions eased for many of the services included in this industry. And Transport, Postal and Warehousing saw jobs increase by 43,759 (8 per cent) from May to August, as truckers are now able to cross state borders and some borders opening for travellers.
The bigger picture (February – August 2020)
Despite the promising signs of recovery, there were still 515,599 fewer jobs in August than there were before the pandemic.
Eleven of the 19 industries have still not improved since the initial impact of Covid-19.
Losers: The biggest drops over the past 6 months were accommodation and food services, down by 169,098 or 18 per cent, followed by manufacturing with 65,737 fewer workers and retail trade losing 64,393 jobs.
The biggest winners in the pandemic
Looking over the past six months, eight of the 19 industries leveraged off the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic. Many of these industries are likely to continue growing or stay strong post-Covid.
The industry with the biggest increase in jobs was not surprising in a pandemic: Public Administration and Safety, with 31,341 more jobs in August than in February. We saw demand for these jobs at border closures and checkpoints, testing sites and public spaces.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing saw the second largest spike in jobs since February. There were 22,374 more workers in this industry in August than before the pandemic.
And Wholesale Trade was the third biggest growth industry, which includes employment for jobs in the wholesale of grocery, liquor and tobacco products. Like the previous industry, panic buying has also caused a boom here with an increase of 16,126 jobs.
How to be a winner: ‘Be ready to pivot’
For most industries, we’re still a long way from a full recovery and it’s very likely that some industries will never be the same. In fact, Covid-19 has started a conscious awakening and I think this is going to be the new normal.
There will be a very profound societal change coming and the way we do things will impact on different industries in different ways. We’re now shopping online, dining out on the street and ordering in more often. We’re at home more and using our phones to find the answers to everything and help manage our lives.
But when there’s change and volatility there is always opportunity. Keep your ear to the ground, master new crafts and be ready to pivot in your industry or in a completely new one.