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I recently attended a webinar hosted by CDAA with Ivan Neville from the National Skills Commission sharing his expertise on the current Australian labour market.  Even during COVID19, the biggest growth sector was the services industry – up by 23%.  For example, health services rose by 2% in employment over the past six months and retail remained stable. 

The big retail employers were Woolworths, Coles, Australia Post, Costco, online retailers and Aldi.  A key takeaway is to think more broadly about heath and retail.  Jobs in these areas include administration, logistics, kitchenhands, truck drivers, allied health and IT professionals, managers and cleaners.  Doctors, Nurses and Sales Assistants are vital, however there are other careers just as important.  The labour market research shows us that the services industry will continue to grow. Unfortunately the Accommodation and Food sector shrank by -18% during COVID19 and Construction only dropped by 2% in employment.

Recruitment improved across Australia by 5% since July 2020.  While still slow, this is indeed uplifting news.   However, with increased competition for jobs, the unemployment rate continues to rise.  This is inevitable given our current economic climate.  The most impacted group was youth with a 14.5% unemployment rate in September 2020.  The next highest was people aged over 55, currently sitting at 4.5%.  Back in February 2020, youth unemployment was steady at 12.3% and over 55s, at 3.5%

When employers start hiring they will look for three key attributes, depending on the job. Qualified/trained employees, relevant experience and demonstrated employability skills.  If you are unemployed, consider undertaking some free online course or micro-credentials.  Lifelong learning is actually a marketable skill.  In fact, research shows that 90% of new jobs will require vocational education or a degree in the future.

So, what types of skills do employers look for?

The list below are skills that were require pre-COVID and post COVID.

  • Communication (Clear, Polite & Concise)
  • Planning & Organising
  • Building Relationships
  • Teamwork & Collaboration
  • Detail Oriented
  • Customer Service

Yes, that is correct, these skills have NOT changed in 7 months!  Employability traits such as, adaptability, resilience, optimism, perseverance and conscientiousness are also crucial to demonstrate.

My final tips: Update your resumé, get onto social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook and network with your contacts.  If you are unemployed consider volunteering once or twice a week to build on these skills and meet new people.  Plus, it keeps boredom at bay.

Another great tool to consider is the Job Outlook Skills Match.  This can help you determine new pathways into different careers.   Although, if you feel confused, please seek the services of a career coach or counsellor.  Having independent support can be a positive investment in your future!