State of Australia’s Skills 2021: now and into the future
Chapter 3 The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market
The COVID-19 pandemic initially had a significant, negative impact on the Australian labour market, with employment falling much more quickly and dramatically than in any previous recession. Since then the labour market has bounced back strongly, although the risk of ongoing outbreaks over the months ahead presents a degree of uncertainty.
As the labour market started to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and related restrictions, late last year the NSC released modelling that examined a number of potential recovery paths. The broad conclusion from this exercise was that although there will be lasting changes as a result of COVID-19, these may not be dramatic. The broad distribution of occupations across the economy may not change all that much, although what might change is how we do our jobs. Issues relating to task change and trending and emerging skills are discussed more in Chapter 7.
When it comes to broader structural changes, it appears that the impact of COVID-19 has been to accelerate a number that were already underway, such as increasing activity online and the ongoing need for post secondary qualifications. The initial impact of the pandemic on the labour market and the subsequent recovery also highlighted the resilience in STEM related occupations.