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Thursday, 16 April 2020 06:18

ICT jobs suffer devastating drop in March ads during COVID-19 shutdown Featured


The information and communications technology jobs sector was absolutely hammered in March, listed among the top three sectors contributing to the decline in job ad numbers compared to the same month in 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown of the economy.

The latest SEEK Employment Report shows an overall decline in job ad volume, down -33.9% year on year to March 2020.

Industries with the greatest contribution to overall job ad decline year on year are: Hospitality & Tourism (-47.7%), Trades & Services (-36%) and Information & Communication Technology (-30.7%).

As bad as these figures are, however, they may not tell the full story of how bad things are as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown. The week by week figures told a story of a rapidly worsening situation as the weeks wore on.

SEEK also acknowledges the rapid decline of the labour market throughout March. In the last month, national job ads declined significantly week on week compared to the same week last year. Since the beginning of March, national job ads have declined by;

  • 12.6% in week ended 8 March and,
  • 17.3% in week ended 15 March and,
  • 41.3% in week ended 22 March and,
  • 64.6% in week ended 29 March.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ comments:

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the labour market and SEEK is seeing a range of industries respond in very different ways.

“Hospitality and Tourism was one of the first sectors to be impacted by the pandemic. Job ads declined week on week throughout March, starting at -13%, then -26%, then -69.2% and by the final week of March, down -84.1%. SEEK saw employers and business owners looking for roles within the sector, such as bar staff, housekeeping, guest services, tour guides, airline staff and travel agents, cease or stall their plans completely, which is a direct result of the restrictions imposed by authorities such as international borders closing and social isolation measures.

“However, while still in decline, the Community Services & Development and Healthcare & Medical sectors are showing some pockets of activity, as governments and service providers aim to meet community demand. Roles in aged care and disability support, and child welfare, youth and family services have remained steady as have nurses practicing general medical and surgical, as well as critical care and ICU

“We know that employers are either scaling up or winding back their recruitment needs at a rapid pace, and there are far greater applications per job ad than what we typically see across almost all sectors.

“Our advice for jobseekers is to keep your SEEK profile up to date and follow the application process. Employers have been inundated with applications so standing out and being competitive by tailoring your resume to the job ad, being clear about your skills and experience which directly align to the job you’re applying for throughout the recruitment process is vitally important.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, we continue to watch the movements in the labour market very closely to understand how each sector is responding with regards to hiring intentions and business activity.”

The global and local shutdown of businesses worldwide has had a disastrous knock-on effect for the tech sector overall, with perhaps the one exception being in the online communications space.

With pundits predicting that many businesses forced to shut down by government decree will never open their doors again, demand for traditional ICT products and services will also slump for some time to come.

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.



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