SEEK Employment Snapshot - Victorian restrictions visibly impacting job ad numbers

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 29 & 30 compared to February 2020)

  • SEEK job ads in the last fortnight are at 68.9% of pre-COVID levels
  • Job ad volumes continue to recover in most states and territories with a slight increase of 0.9% in the last two weeks compared to the previous two weeks
  • Job ads in Victoria have declined 6.4% in the last two weeks compared to the previous fortnight and are currently sitting at 50.3% of pre-COVID levels
  • Consumer Services in Victoria has been hit the hardest with a decline from 24% of total job ads in week 26 to 17% in last fortnight
  • Professional Services is the slowest to recover across the rest of Australia

Victorian restrictions visibly impacting job ad numbers

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ comments: “In the fortnight ended 26 July, job ad volumes across Australia were 68.9% of pre-COVID levels. In the last fortnight, we have seen growth in most states and territories; unsurprisingly the same cannot be said for Victoria, which has seen a decline of 6.4%, with job ad volumes at 50.4% of pre-COVID levels. 

“Since the re-introduction of restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne, we have seen a decline in job ads, but this has not been as severe as what we saw in March and April. The fact that job advertising volumes have not declined as much during this second round of restrictions is testament to the resilience and adaptability of business owners, who are being innovative and trying to find ways to continue to operate. 

“Victoria represents about a fifth of the total job ads for Australia and has a significant impact on the nation's job ad comparison figure. If we exclude Victoria the national average for the last two weeks compared to pre-COVID levels would be 75.8%.”

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

  • Western Australia: 89.5%
  • South Australia: 88.6%
  • Queensland: 83.3%
  • Northern Territory: 82.4%          
  • Tasmania: 82.0%
  • Australian Capital Territory: 77.6% 
  • New South Wales: 65.5%
  • Victoria: 50.3% 

Figure one: SEEK new job ads by state for 2020


Victorian sectors impacted the most 

Consumer Services industries, including the Administration & Office Support, Hospitality and Tourism, Sales, Retail and Consumer Products, Real Estate and Property, Call Centre & Customer Service, Sport & Recreation and Advertising, Arts & Media sectors. were hardest hit at the height of the restrictions in March and April. 

The figures below represent the percentage breakdown of new job ads by sector, from a national perspective (Figure Two) and from a Victorian perspective (Figure Three). As you can see, the percentage spread of sectors changed during the height of the first impact of COVID when job ad volumes were at their lowest with Consumer Services roles visibly contracting. With the current round of restrictions being imposed in metropolitan Melbourne, you can see in Figure Three that Consumer Services has contracted again making up 17% of roles on SEEK down from 24% in week 26 (22 – 28 June).

Whilst job ad volumes have not declined as much during the second round of restrictions, some of the larger volume industries are struggling in Victoria, compared to pre-COVID levels (February 2020):

  • Hospitality and Tourism:  16.2%
  • Admin & Office Support: 31.6%
  • Retail & Consumer Products: 40.0%
  • Sales: 39.3% 
  • Accounting: 43.9%
  • Construction: 46.0%
  • Education & Training: 49.0%
  • Information & Communication Technology: 51.6%
  • Trades & Services: 55.0% 

Figure two: SEEK job ads by sector nationally for 2020 


Figure three: SEEK job ads by sector for Victoria 2020 


Professional services taking the longest to recovre across Australia

There seems to be some hesitation from businesses looking to hire jobseekers in the professional services sector across Australia. The pink bars in Figure Four indicates the percentage of roles compared to pre-COVID levels and in every state, with the exception of Victoria where Consumer Services job ads are weaker, this sector has the furthest to go to reach pre-COVID levels. 

Professional Services is comprised of Accounting, Human Resources & Recruitment, Marketing & Communications, Banking & Financial Services, Legal, Science & Technology, Consulting & Strategy, Information & Communication Technology and Insurance & Superannuation. 

Figure four: Sector percentages for weeks 29 & 30 compared to pre-COVID (February 2020 average)