Business guide to Coronavirus

Who’s hiring through the coronavirus crisis?

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to unfold, we have witnessed businesses shut their doors, beared the impacts of unemployment and an economic lull.  But not all businesses have reduced their headcounts. Some are in hiring mode and others have pivoted creating demand for their products and services.

Across Australia, businesses large and small were forced to stand down or lay off part or all of their workforces in response to government shutdown measures in 2020 which were designed to slow the spread of the virus. As we start to come out the other side, we are seeing some improvements in the job market, renewing hope our economy is recovering.

According to employment marketplace SEEK, the January 2021 Employment Report has revealed the job market is picking up momentum with steady improvements. National job advertisements went up by 4% month-on-month while jobs advertised were up 6.5% year-on-year.

In comparing January figures, Kendra Banks, SEEK Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand said: “Tasmania, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland all have job ad volumes significantly higher than in January 2020."

"Despite New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory having job ad levels lower than this time last year, both are at the highest levels since the pandemic began and have steadily recovered,” she added.

HIRING, NOT FIRING

Indeed Economist Callam Pickering reported that up to and including 26 February 2021, job postings tracked 19.8% above their level from 1 February 2020. Some recruitment trends are a reflection of the times we live in – the best performing occupation groups include cleaning and sanitation (up 69%), loading and stocking up (63%) and community and social services (up 60%).

However some occupations grouped under ‘worst performing’ include jobs within hospitality and tourism which are down 40% compared to their baselines. With restrictions on international travel and at times domestic travel, many restaurants and cafes are still operating below their usual levels. It’s likely it may take some time to see a lift in these figures. 

MAKING THINGS MAKES JOBS

In the manufacturing sector, we’ve seen business pivot into the production of high-demand items. At a time when essential supplies were required, the Federal Government put out a request for information to identify local businesses with the capacity to supply urgently needed stock. Items included personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers, including gloves, gowns, goggles and waste disposal bags.

Victorian surgical mask maker Med-Con went on a hiring blitz of 40 new staff to help meet the demand of face masks and Newcastle’s Earp Distilling Co. repurposed ethanol used in gin production to create hand sanitiser.

With the event industry hitting a curveball, Stagekings – leaders in the production of custom stages and event structures, were determined for the pandemic not to impede on their creativity and passion for building and design work. Given the rise of working from home, they identified a gap in the market for quality home office desks. ‘IsoKing’ home furniture range was invented and a great solution – flat pack, easy to assemble with no tools or DIY skills required. The company has made more than 35,000 products and shipped across the country.

Businesses that are able to pivot and explore new business opportunities have been able to thrive and find other streams to generate income for ongoing success. 

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