SEEK Employment Snapshot - states and territories recovering at different speeds

This snapshot complements the SEEK Employment Trends report that is released monthly. SEEK will publish regular insights based on job ad movements compared to a pre-COVID baseline of February 2020.


Key insights (weeks 26 & 27 compared to February 2020): 

  • SEEK job ads in the last fortnight are at 66.6% of pre-COVID levels
  • Job ad volumes have levelled out nationally with a slight increase of 1.3% in the last two weeks compared to the previous two weeks
  • Job ads in Victoria have declined 6.1% in the last two weeks compared to the previous fortnight and are currently sitting at 55.9% of pre-COVID levels
  • Candidate applications across Australia are 9.7% higher in the last two weeks compared to pre-COVID levels 

 State and territories recovering at different speeds 

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ comments: “In the fortnight ended 5 July, job ad volumes across Australia were 66.6% of pre-COVID levels. In the last fortnight, we have seen growth in most states and territories, with the notable exception being Victoria. Victoria has seen a decline of 6.1%, which now its positions it as the state with the weakest recovery to date, with job ad volumes, at 55.9% of pre-COVID levels. A return to lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne is expected to delay any recovery in Victoria’s job ad volumes, which will not be welcome news for businesses and job seekers in the state.

Job ads volumes in each state and territory compared to February 2020: 

  • Northern Territory: 84.4%  
  • Tasmania: 83.9%
  • Western Australia: 82.5%
  • South Australia: 82.4%    
  • Queensland: 75.9%
  • Australian Capital Territory: 69.3% 
  • New South Wales: 62.1%
  • Victoria: 55.9%

“For the rest of the country, job ad volumes are looking relatively positive. Data out of Western Australia, South Australia, and Queensland, in particular, shows more opportunity for job seekers, as all industry sectors are showing job ad growth.”

Figure one: SEEK new job ads by state for 2020


Candidate application rates

“We’re continuing to see candidate search and visit activity increase on Candidate application rates remain relatively high but have started to track back towards pre-COVID levels. As you can see in Figure Two, since COVID hit, job ads dropped and job applications per ad increased. While the lines in Figure Two have converged somewhat, we are still seeing more applications per job across most industries compared to pre-COVID times. 

Figure two: SEEK job ads by volume compared to pre-COVID baseline (February 2020) and application rates for 2020 


We have seen significantly more applications per ad compared to pre-COVID levels for roles in the following industries:

  • Administration & Office Support (42%); 
  • Information & Communication Technology (38%); 
  • Accounting (32%);
  • Sales (24%); and, 
  • Construction (12%). 

Some industries are seeing fewer applications per job ad than pre-COVID levels. The main reason for this is because these industries have been impacted less by COVID or have recovered more quickly; therefore, the ratio between jobs and job seekers is more balanced than other industries. These industries have seen a decrease or marginal increase to applications per ad: 

  • Mining, Resources & Energy (-8%); 
  • Community Services & Development (-7%); 
  • Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics; (-7%) and, 
  • Education & Training (+4%).

At a state and territory level, we are seeing similar trends. The states and territories that have bounced back well from COVID, or have been less impacted by it, generally have fewer job applications per ad. Victoria and New South Wales, the two states most impacted by COVID, have more job seekers applying for roles compared to other states and territories. The application rates per job ad for the states and territories compared to February 2020 are: 

  • Northern Territory: -12.4%  
  • Queensland: -11.4% 
  • Western Australia: -10.2%
  • Tasmania: -8.9%    
  • South Australia: -3.7%
  • Australian Capital Territory: 21.1% 
  • New South Wales: 22.2%
  • Victoria: 29.2%

Industry comparisons to pre-COVID levels 

The following table represents current job ad volume as a percentage of the pre-COVID job ad volume by industry. The table is arranged by the highest volume of jobs advertised in the last two weeks. The industries highlighted with an asterisk are the 2019 top ten industries by volume.   

Figure three: Job ad volume by sector for weeks 26 & 27 compared to pre-COVD (February 2020 average)