Part 2 Resilient Occupations

Part 2 Resilient Occupations Ellie Yates Fri, 12/04/2020 - 17:04

2.1 Impact of COVID-19 on occupations

  • Characteristics of the most resilient occupations
  • Industries with resilient occupations

2.2 Top 20 resilient occupations
2.3 Rebounding occupations
2.4 Case study

  • Health care and social assistance experiences consistent demand

2.1 Impact of COVID-19 on occupations

2.1 Impact of COVID-19 on occupations Ellie Yates Fri, 12/04/2020 - 17:05

Insights into future job opportunities can support education policy, career decisions by job seekers and students, course offerings by education providers and broader policy and program design. These insights are vital to supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

While forecasting is difficult when underlying conditions are highly volatile, the need for data and insights about the performance of occupations in the labour market is often greatest during such periods of volatility (such as the current situation).

As noted in the Australian Government’s 2020–21 Budget (6 October 2020), ‘…the economic outlook has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is still evolving and the outlook remains highly uncertain. The range of possible outcomes for gross domestic product and unemployment in particular is substantially wider than normal’.

To support policy responses such as the Australian Government’s JobTrainer initiative and broader labour market analysis, the NSC has developed an occupational resilience framework.

The framework ranks the relative employment growth prospects of 358 occupations. It is based on available evidence about labour market dynamics and the ongoing experiences of different occupations through the pandemic. It applies 3 main components – pre-pandemic employment growth expectations, the COVID-19 employment shock, and the COVID-19 recovery so far – to study different occupational effects at the 4-digit level3 of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

Decorative imageInsights into future job opportunities can support education policy, career decisions by job seekers and students, course offerings by education providers and broader policy and program design.

The 3 components studied for the occupational resilience framework are:

Number 1Pre-pandemic employment growth expectations

This measure captures the extent to which employment in an occupation was expected to grow over the 5 years to May 2024, based on employment projections4 developed prior to COVID-19. Occupations with the highest projected employment growth rate are ranked highest (closest to 1), while occupations with the lowest projected employment growth rate are ranked lowest (closest to 358).

Number 2The COVID-19 employment shock

This measure captures the extent to which employment in an occupation has been resilient to the impacts of the pandemic and associated policy responses by assessing the negative impact on employment and labour demand since February 2020. It separately ranks occupations from 1 to 358 according to the change in:

  • employment between February and the lowest subsequent point observed in the detailed quarterly ABS Labour Force Survey data
  • hours worked between February and the lowest subsequent point observed in the detailed quarterly ABS Labour Force Survey data
  • online job advertisements between February and the lowest point in the vacancy series between February and August 2020, as observed by the NSC’s IVI.

Occupations that experienced increases or small declines in employment, hours worked and job advertisements are ranked highest (closest to 1), while occupations that experienced the largest declines in employment, hours worked and job advertisements are ranked lowest (closest to 358).5

Number 3The COVID-19 recovery so far

This measure captures the extent to which employment in an occupation has recovered from, or held its own against, the initial impact of COVID-19. It ranks occupations from 1 to 358 according to the overall change in vacancies between February and August 2020, as measured by the NSC’s IVI. Occupations with the highest rate of growth, or lowest rate of decline, in job advertisements are ranked highest (closest to 1), while occupations with the highest rate of decline in job advertisements are ranked lowest (closest to 358). When sufficient data are available, this will be supplemented with an employment change indicator, measuring the change since February 2020.

These 3 components are then summarised into a single ranking of occupations according to their occupational resilience, or relative employment growth prospects.

Each occupation is ranked by each of the 3 components and assigned a score based on that ranking. The top 20% of occupations are assigned the highest score of 5, while the bottom 20% of occupations are assigned the lowest score of 1.

The overall combined occupation resilience score is an aggregate of the scores for each of the 3 components, and ranges from a lowest score of 3, to the highest score of 15.

The Jobtrainer Fund and resilient occupations

The JobTrainer Fund will provide up to 340,000 additional training places that are free or low fee, in areas of identified skills need for job seekers and young people.

The NSC has used the resilient occupation framework as the starting point for discussions with the state and territory governments on training courses that could be subsidised under the JobTrainer Fund.

State and territory governments supplemented the NSC’s analysis with their own intelligence on local labour market needs and skills requirements.

Information on courses subsidised by each state and territory under the JobTrainer Fund will be published at myskills.gov.au.

Characteristics of the most resilient occupations

The 110 (approximately the top one-third) most resilient occupations as a group are notably different to the remaining occupations, especially in several key characteristics. For example:

  • Young people are proportionally less represented in the resilient occupations. The resilient occupations represent 25.4% of youth employment, compared with 33.9% of employment for all ages, again reflecting the greater impact COVID-19 has had on young workers6.
  • total of 41.3% of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations7 are on the resilient occupations list, compared with 30.7% of occupations overall, indicating the importance of these skills to the economy.

Further, skill levels 1 and 4 account for above average shares of resilient occupations and of employment in these occupations, while skill level 3, with close to an average share, has a greater representation than either skill level 2 or 58.

  • Skill Level 1 is commensurate with a Bachelor degree or higher qualification.
  • Skill Level 2 is commensurate with an Advanced Diploma or Diploma.
  • Skill Level 3 is commensurate with a Certificate IV or III (including at least 2 years on-the-job training).
  • Skill Level 4 is commensurate with a Certificate II or III.
  • Skill Level 5 is commensurate with a Certificate I or secondary education.

These observations reinforce the importance of education beyond school to secure employment and move between jobs.

Resilient occupations are more likely to be found in the following broad occupational groups:

  • Professionals (examples of resilient occupations in this group include Speech Professionals, Audiologists, Other Medical Practitioners and Midwives).
  • Community and Personal Service Workers, such as Aged and Disabled Carers and Security Officers and Guards.
  • Machinery Operators and Drivers, such as Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators and Delivery Drivers.

In contrast, no occupations from either the Sales Workers or Clerical and Administrative Workers broad occupation groups met the definition of resilient occupations (that is, with a score of 11 or more on the occupational resilience framework). This is due to the relatively low projected employment growth pre-COVID-19 for occupations in these groups (4.0% and 1.4% respectively over the 5 years to May 2024) and the slower recovery in related online job advertisements.

  • Online job advertisements for Clerical and Administrative Workers and Sales Workers were 30.2% and 20.6% lower respectively, compared with an 18.1% drop across all occupations.

Managers are less likely to be found in the resilient occupations. This is because they had below average growth expectations pre-COVID-19 (6.2% compared with the national average of 8.3%) and recorded the largest drop in related online job advertisements, with August online job advertisements for Managers 31.8% below the February level.

It should be noted that occupational resilience is an analysis framework that provides an indication of the relative employment strength of occupations. Jobs growth is not confined to occupations ranked as most resilient and, as the economy continues to recover, more and more occupations are likely to see solid and sustained increases in employment.

The original group of resilient occupations, by definition, exhibited better employment outcomes and dynamics on average, compared with the average of all occupations. However, there is a significant difference across a broad range of labour market indicators between resilient occupations and other occupations.

Between February and August, total employment fell by 438,000 or 3.4%9. However, the resilient occupations recorded growth, or smaller reductions, in employment, with 60.0% of resilient occupations recording employment growth over this period (compared with 45.3% on average).

A total of 53.6% of resilient occupations experienced increased hours worked over the 6 months, compared with only 35.9% for other occupations. In addition, a total of 73.6% of resilient occupations recorded higher levels of online job advertisements in August than in February, compared with only 20.6% for other occupations.10

Industries with resilient occupations

By using ABS Labour Force Survey data to explore the distribution of occupations within industries, we can understand the resilience of industry employment to COVID-19 impacts. Six industries have an above average share (33.9%) of employment in resilient occupations. They are:

Image representing occupations showing resilience during COVID-19. 65.6% in the health and social assistance industries, 55.3% in education and training, and 54% in construction.

Image representing occupations showing resilience during COVID-19. 50.5% in the mining industry, 48.5% in transport and postal warehousing, and 37.5% in administrative and support services.

This employment snapshot highlights that resilient occupations are concentrated in certain industries. More than half of employment in resilient occupations is accounted for by just 3 industries:

  1. Health Care and Social Assistance (26.6%),
  2. Construction (14.5%)
  3. Education and Training (13.0%).

2.2 Top 20 resilient occupations

2.2 Top 20 resilient occupations Ellie Yates Fri, 12/04/2020 - 17:38

Table 3: Top 20 resilient occupations by overall score

ANZSCO code ANZSCO title Skill level Total employed at August 2020 (‘000) Overall score
2539 Other Medical Practitioners 1 17.8 15
2527 Speech Professionals and Audiologists 1 12.2 15
2541 Midwives 1 24.8 15
4231 Aged and Disabled Carers 4 220.9 15
2726 Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers 1 33.8 14
7211 Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators 4 13.6 14
7321 Delivery Drivers 4 68.3 14
2534 Psychiatrists 1 4.0 14
1342 Health and Welfare Services Managers 1 29.5 14
2721 Counsellors 1 35.2 14
4422 Security Officers and Guards 4 60.4 14
2524 Occupational Therapists 1 24.3 14
2544 Registered Nurses 1 297.1 14
2346 Medical Laboratory Scientists 1 18.2 13
2414 Secondary School Teachers 1 140.7 13
2519 Other Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals 1 6.9 13
2531 Generalist Medical Practitioners 1 67.0 13
2543 Nurse Managers 1 33.9 13
3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers 4 21.3 13
4111 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics 2 16.4 13

Source: NSC occupational resilience framework.

New insights on resilient occupations will be available on the NSC’s Labour Market Information Portal website at: lmip.gov.au.

2.3 Rebounding occupations

2.3 Rebounding occupations Ellie Yates Fri, 12/04/2020 - 17:39

Of the 358 occupations, around one-third (122, or 34.1%) recorded an increase in employment in the August quarter after experiencing a decline in employment in the May quarter. If we consider these occupations to be ‘rebounding’ from the initial impacts of COVID-19 on the labour market, most of these rebounding occupations (69, or 56.6%) still recorded a decline in employment over the 6 months to August 2020, despite employment growth in the August quarter. This highlights the conceptual difference between the occupational resilience framework and a simpler analysis of quarterly changes to employment data, which in isolation can be volatile.

Not surprisingly, occupations that were directly impacted by trading restrictions and social distancing measures were among those recording a particularly strong ‘rebound’. For instance, of all 358 occupations, the 4 that recorded the largest falls in employment in the May quarter 2020 (Waiters, Sales Assistants (General), Bar Attendants and Baristas, and Kitchenhands) were also the 4 occupations that recorded the largest increase in employment in the August quarter 2020. Other rebounding occupations that exhibited large movements in employment over both quarters can be seen in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Top 10 rebounding occupations, ranked by the sum of the absolute change in employment over each quarter

  Employment August 2020 (‘000) Change in employment over the quarter to August 2020 Change in employment over the quarter to May 2020 Change in employment from February to August 2020
    (‘000) (%) (‘000) (%) (‘000) (%)
Waiters 93.5 56.6 153.8 -104.9 -74.0 -48.2 -34.0
Sales Assistants (General) 472.0 28.8 6.5 -67.9 -13.3 -39.1 -7.7
Bar Attendants and Baristas 92.4 36.4 65.1 -49.4 -46.9 -13.0 -12.3
Kitchenhands 122.4 21.3 21.0 -34.6 -25.5 -13.3 -9.8
Automobile Drivers 48.2 19.7 69.4 -26.0 -47.8 -6.3 -11.6
Retail Managers 230.7 19.9 9.5 -25.8 -10.9 -5.9 -2.5
Chefs 82.1 6.3 8.3 -32.0 -29.7 -25.7 -23.8
Child Carers 125.1 13.2 11.8 -19.4 -14.8 -6.2 -4.7
Sports Coaches, Instructors and Officials 29.5 9.6 48.6 -21.3 -51.8 -11.7 -28.4
Beauty Therapists 32.1 8.6 36.6 -17.0 -42.0 -8.4 -20.7

Source: NSC occupational resilience framework.

The resilient occupations framework helps with our understanding of employment dynamics in a highly volatile labour market. As the partial recovery in the economy continues – albeit uneven – across those occupations most impacted by COVID-19 to May 2020, the extent of structural change around the provision of essential services evident in the early months of the pandemic is likely to diminish, with some occupations that saw large initial declines in employment likely to still offer good employment prospects over the coming years. The resilient occupations framework complements other forward-looking approaches focused on the recovery path the labour market is taking, such as computable general equilibrium modelling discussed later in this report, and will evolve over time as more data become available.

2.4 Case study

2.4 Case study Ellie Yates Fri, 12/04/2020 - 17:40

Health care and social assistance experiences consistent demand

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, demand has been relatively consistent for the essential services provided by the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. Hospitals have experienced a short-term increase in employment. This offsets some decline in areas such as Allied Health Services that were restricted by physical distancing requirements.

Labour force

Employment in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry decreased by 28,600 (or 1.6%) over the 6 months to August. The industry had the second lowest rate of decline of the 12 industries that fell over the period. More recently, employment increased by 36,800 (or 2.1%) over the quarter to August.

Employment in the Other Social Assistance Services sector decreased by 34,700 (or 10.0%), followed by Child Care Services (down by 12,200 or 8.3%) and Residential Care Services (down by 5,000 or 1.9%) between February and August.

The only sector in the industry to see employment fall over both quarters in this period was the Other Social Assistance Services sector.
Employment in the Medical Services sector increased by 12,900 (or 7.1%), followed by Other Health Care Services (up by 5,900 or 20.3%) and Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging Services (up by 4,100 or 8.4%) over the 6 months to August 2020.

Payroll information

According to Australian Taxation Office Single Touch Payroll data, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry was one of only 4 industries to see an increase in employee jobs between March and October.

Employee jobs in this industry increased by 0.3% between 14 March and 17 October. This growth was well above average for all industries over the period (down by 4.4%).

The Hospitals sub-division recorded the largest increase in employee jobs in the industry between 14 March and 17 October (up by 2.5%), followed by Social Assistance Services (up by 2.1%).

Declines were recorded in the Medical and Other Health Care Services (down by 3.4%) and Residential Care Services (down by 1.6%) sub-divisions.

Internet Vacancy Index (IVI)

Of the 51 occupations that primarily operate within the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, job advertisements in 37 (or 72.5%) have now reached their pre-pandemic levels11. This is compared with 53.4% across all occupations.

The Health Care and Social Assistance occupations that have had job advertisements recover most strongly above their pre‑pandemic levels include Indigenous Health Workers (210.9%), Nurse Educators and Researchers (181.6%), Other Medical Practitioners (178.6%) and Anaesthetists (168.6%).

Occupation resilience

Looking ahead, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry is expected to continue to provide a significant share of new jobs. As well as being a vital part of the community response to, and of management of the pandemic, demographic changes underpin long-term growth for services offered by the industry. These changes will continue to provide future employment opportunities in the industry.

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry was the largest employing industry for 34 of the 110 occupations identified as resilient.

More than a quarter (26.2%) of resilient occupation employment is in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. This industry has the largest concentration of resilient occupation employment, with 65.4% of employment in the industry considered to be resilient. By comparison, around one-third (33.4%) of employment across all industries was in occupations considered resilient.

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry provides opportunities for both high and low skilled careers. The industry employs 40.9% of higher skilled resilient occupation employment (Diploma or higher education level) and 23.7% of occupations requiring skills commensurate to a Certificate II/III level.

Table 5: Health Care and Social Assistance industry occupation resilience and employment

Occupation Occupation Resilience Score Number employed in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry(‘000) Share of occupation employment in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry
Registered Nurses 14 276.3 94.3
Aged and Disabled Carers 15 181.2 95.0
Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers 12 90.1 95.1
General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers 13 62.5 97.7
Welfare Support Workers 12 39.6 62.6
Physiotherapists 11 30 94.9
Dental Assistants 11 29.2 97.7
Social Workers 12 28 75.9
Enrolled and Mothercraft Nurses 13 23.2 96.7
Psychologists 12 22.3 73.4
Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers 14 21.4 58.5
Medical Technicians 12 20.4 71.1
Midwives 15 19.9 97.1
Other Medical Practitioners 15 19.5 96.5
Ambulance Officers and Paramedics 13 19.3 96.0
Health and Welfare Services Managers 14 18.9 82.5
Nurse Managers 13 18.4 94.4
Medical Imaging Professionals 12 16.3 96.4
Counsellors 14 15.7 51.1
Occupational Therapists 14 15.7 83.5
Medical Laboratory Scientists 13 13.6 49.3
Audiologists and Speech Pathologists / Therapists 15 8.6 92.5
Surgeons 12 7.3 100.0
Specialist Physicians 12 7 95.9
Podiatrists 11 6.8 100.0
Other Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals 13 6.3 63.0
Nurse Educators and Researchers 13 6 65.2
Diversional Therapists 11 5.9 92.2
Other Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers 12 5.6 33.1
Nutrition Professionals 12 5.3 81.5
Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists 11 4.6 63.0
Psychiatrists 14 2.8 100.0
Special Care Workers 12 2.4 60.0
Indigenous Health Workers 11 1.2 80.0

 

11 Pre-pandemic levels are job advertisements for February 2020 in trend terms, as published the February 2020 release of the IVI.