1.6: Jobs in demand

Since early April, the NSC has conducted the Jobs in Demand employer survey. The survey is based on employer contacts in five major employing industries — Manufacturing, Wholesale trade, Retail trade, Transport, Postal and Warehousing, and Health Care and Social Assistance. Around 5700 employers, who were seeking to fill around 3500 vacant positions, were interviewed between 7 April and 12 June 2020.

Positively, the proportion of businesses recruiting is increasing, in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Just 7.7 per cent of business were recruiting at the start of April 2020. This has now risen for seven consecutive weeks, to 23.9 per cent in the week ending 12 June 2020. Recruitment activity has increased across all surveyed industries compared with the start of April.

Chart 15: Proportion of employers recruiting

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Source: NSC, Jobs in Demand Employer Survey, week ending 10 April 2020 to week ending 12 June 2020

Source: NSC, Jobs in Demand Employer Survey, week ending 10 April 2020 to week ending 12 June 2020

Chart 15

Line chart showing the proportion of employers recruiting from the week ending 10 April 2020 to the week ending 12 June 2020. The proportion of businesses recruiting broadly increased over the time series, from 7.7 per cent in the week ending 10 April 2020 to 23.9 per cent in the week ending 12 June 2020.

Recruitment trends have varied across the states and territories. The Northern Territory had the highest recruitment rate (29 per cent of employers recruiting) followed by the Australian Capital Territory (23 per cent). Notably, the lowest recruitment rates tended to be in the larger states. New South Wales had the lowest recruitment rate (14 per cent), followed by Victoria and Western Australia (both 15 per cent).

The most commonly mentioned occupations that employers have been recruiting for since 7 April 2020 include retail sales assistants, truck drivers, child carers, receptionists, managers and registered nurses.

Despite relatively low recruitment rates and an increase in the number of job seekers since the start of COVID-19, around 30 per cent of recruiting employers were having (or expected to have) difficulty filling their vacancies. ‘Lack of applicants’ was the most common reason (mentioned by 44 per cent of employers having difficulty recruiting), followed by ‘applicants lack experience’ (27 per cent), the ‘location’ of the vacancy and ‘applicants lack technical skills’ (both 20 per cent).

Chart 16: Reason for recruitment difficulty (per cent of employers mentioning reason)

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Source: NSC, Jobs in Demand Employer Survey, week ending 10 April 2020 to week ending 12 June 2020

Source: NSC, Jobs in Demand Employer Survey, week ending 10 April 2020 to week ending 12 June 2020

Chart 16

Column chart showing employers reasons for recruitment difficulty. 44 per cent of employers mentioned 'lack of applicants', 27 per cent mentioned 'applicants lack experience', 20 per cent mentioned 'applicants lack technical skills', 20 per cent mentioned 'location', 16 per cent mentioned 'applicants lack of employability skills', 11 per cent mentioned 'COVID-19', 8 per cent mentioned 'specialist role'.

Employers were also asked about the technical skills they were looking for in applicants — that is, the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. The skills in greatest demand were often directly linked to the job role, highlighting again the importance of relevant experience when applying for jobs and the vital role of workplace experience during training. The technical skills most commonly mentioned included: assisting and caring for others; customer and personal service; operating vehicles, mechanised devices, or equipment; controlling machines and processes; and selling or influencing others.

For more information on the Jobs in Demand employer survey, and further labour market information relating to COVID-19, see the Labour Market Information Portal (LMIP). The Jobs Hub website also provides an up-to-date list of some of the businesses and organisations currently hiring and how to contact them if you are looking for work, as well as the latest information on jobs by location.

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The skills in greatest demand were often directly linked to the job role, highlighting again the importance of relevant experience when applying for jobs …

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