Where we are now

A time of major change

COVID-19 has radically affected Australia’s labour market.

With the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020 (when Australia recorded its 100th case and just prior to the shutdown of non-essential services and trading restrictions), there was an unprecedented fall in employment, record numbers of people left the job market and, for those who remained looking for work, vacancies fell to their lowest level in more than a decade.

Thousands of jobs were lost and the lives of many Australians altered greatly. Nonetheless, Australia is performing better than most other nations in terms of its economic resilience.

Most labour market indicators (such as employment and the unemployment rate) are now improving since the low in May 2020, buoyed by the decline in coronavirus cases and the subsequent easing of restrictions. Encouragingly, employment for women and youth, who were initially affected the most, is rebounding quite strongly, although for both their employment remains below pre-COVID levels.

To help with the recovery process, the NSC has developed a range of information, resources and tools to support job seekers during this unprecedented time (one of which you are currently reading!). Another has been to identify occupations that have remained resilient despite the broader impact of COVID-19.

What is a resilient occupation?

The NSC considers an occupation to be resilient if it has positive employment growth prospects as Australia’s labour market recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Taking projected employment growth data from before the pandemic, changes to job vacancies and employment at the peak of the pandemic, and indications of an occupation’s recovery in job vacancies, the NSC has been able to create a list of resilient occupations.

Resilient occupations are most likely to occur in the following occupational groups:

  • Professionals (for example, Speech Professionals and Audiologists, Other Medical Practitioners and Midwives).
  • Community and Personal Service Workers (Aged and Disabled Carers and Security Officers and Guards).
  • Machinery Operators and Drivers (Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators and Delivery Drivers).

Most of these occupations are likely to require post-school qualifications, highlighting the importance of undertaking further study after you leave school. More information on these occupations can be found in the Jobs by Occupation section.

Resilient industries

Looking at the occupations that proved to be the most resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NSC also determined their distribution across industries, with the following showing greater resilience than the national average:

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Education and Training
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing
  • Administrative and Support Services.

For more information on these industries, see the Jobs by Industry section. 

Emerging occupations

In response to COVID-19, the need to adapt and learn new skills has arisen quite quickly. For example, manufacturers have learnt new techniques to make unfamiliar, in demand products and restaurant owners have quickly developed or enhanced their skills in e-commerce. Nearly everyone, in nearly every office, has had to learn the awkwardness of asking a person on a teleconference to unmute their microphone.

The NSC has also been identifying these emerging skills and looking at how these skills change existing jobs. By doing so, we have identified emerging or new occupations in the labour market. Examples of these emerging occupations include Social Media Specialists and Wind Turbine Technicians. More information on these emerging occupations can be found in our Emerging Occupations report.