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The labour market makes a grim announcement this month as official statistics declare unemployment rates reach 1 million people. A disappointing milestone as 7.5% of Australians are now unemployed, with predictions that the ‘real’ rate of unemployment is even higher.

As these chilling figures are announced, it seems the anticipated recession is beginning to rear its ugly head and the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy and our labour market become increasingly evident. With 1 million Australians now out of work, research conducted by Linkedin shows that these statistics could continue to get even worse.

For the majority of 2020 so far, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many out of work with thousands of job losses and redundancies, but it seems there hasn’t been much improvement on the job market yet, rather the situation is actually getting worse. These adverse unemployment rates in turn paint a grim picture for recruitment rates alike, as the fight to achieve re-employment becomes more and more competitive as the job market saturates.

In some areas of Australia it has been reported that nearly 60 people are fighting for just 1 advertised position. LinkedIn recently reported that the amount of jobseekers competing for positions has almost doubled since 2020 began with on average 40 applicants competing for 1 job. In more detail, in some parts of the Northern Territory, there are 57 applicants for each role advertised; and no area of Australia is left unaffected as even in Canberra, the nation’s least affected area, there are four times more people receiving unemployment jobseeker benefits than job vacancies.

'There is no doubt that COVID-19 has hit the Australian economy hard, and while there are signs of recovery, we have to put it in context,' said Matt Tindale, Managing Director of LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand. 

'An unprecedented number of people have lost their jobs as a result of this pandemic, and it will likely take some time before we get back to the levels of growth and strength we saw before the pandemic hit.'  

Between March and May 186 Million work hours were lost, and between May and July only 88 million of those were recovered, down approximately 100 million work hours overall. Economist, Andrew Charlton, also reported that there are over 1.6 million Australian residents on Jobseeker and 3.3 million on Jobkeeper. He further stated that therefore there is ‘No question that the real rate of unemployment is in double digits,’ (as oppose to 7.5%).

These new figures don’t even take into consideration the effects of Victoria’s stage 3 and 4 lockdown restrictions of their second wave. Victoria was responsible for almost 20% of new job creation back in July, but following their second wave from the end of July to now, these figures will now more than be reversed, as reported by ABC News Australia. The fallout from this will not only affect those in Victoria, but continue to have devastating ripple effects across Australia and experts forecast these figures will only continue to get worse due to the uncertainty and unpredictability of COVID-19 and any further lockdowns.

On another note, these shocking statistics highlight the importance of YOUR employability and how you can prepare for the workforce post COVID-19.

Written by Sophie Cunningham; 9th September 2020

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