September: SEEK Employment Report - Three rates of recovery emerging across Australia

Since the beginning of March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has had an extreme impact on the job market. For the foreseeable future, the SEEK Employment Report will feature relevant month-on-month and year-on-year job ad data. Refer to SEEK Employment data for further detail.

The August 2020 report focuses on month-on-month data, which offers a clearer picture as to how the job market is evolving and recovering from the pandemic.


  • SEEK job ads are down by 2.0% month-on-month (m/m).
  • SEEK job ads are down 29.1% year-on-year (y/y).
  • Sectors with the highest job ad growth m/m by volume are Information & Communication Technology, Human Resources & Recruitment and Banking & Finance.


  • The top three states contributing to monthly job ads growth by volume are Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia.
  • Recovery from April is occurring in every state and territory at different rates, with some states beginning to meet and surpass pre-COVID levels.


The latest SEEK Employment Report data shows a 2.0% month-on-month (m/m) national decline in jobs advertised. This is the first time a decline has been reported since April.

Comparing August 2020 with August 2019, job ads are 29.1% lower, which is the smallest difference in year-on-year (y/y) comparison since the pandemic began.

August data also shows that job ads across all states and territories are recovering from their lowest point in April at three different rates, with some states rebounding and showing comparable pre-COVID job ad levels.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ comments: “We are seeing three distinct rates of recovery emerge across Australia. The first group are the states that have fully rebounded or have job ad rates comparable to pre-COVID levels – this includes Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory. The second group are the states that are continuing to recover towards pre-COVID levels, which are Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Unsurprisingly this leaves Victoria as the state which declined significantly for a second month, where stage four restrictions continue to have a major impact on businesses and hiring.

“The national month-on-month decrease of 2.0% is being driven by the existing restrictions in Victoria which are impacting job ad growth. Excluding Victoria, the rest of Australia saw a 1.8% increase in job ad volumes in August when compared to July.

“NSW and Victoria, the two biggest contributors to the nation's economy, are currently the only states below the national average for year-on-year job ad growth.”

Table 1: National, state and territory job ad growth/decline comparing August 2020 to: i) July 2020 (m/m) and; ii) August 2019 (y/y)


In August the m/m growth rate for South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory has accelerated, further highlighting the correlation between fewer reported COVID cases and higher job ad growth.

While Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory reported job ad declines for the month of August, it is in Victoria where job ads continue to decline most sharply. The decline in Victoria continued with a 12.8% drop in July m/m and a further reduction of 17.6% in August.

Kendra Banks said: “The top three states contributing to monthly job ads by volume are Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia.

“New South Wales job ad volumes growth slowed across August, dropping from 6.3% month-on-month growth in July to 1.7% in August. Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory showed a slight decline after both states had strong growth in July.

“Victoria experienced a further decline in job ads in August, as we continue to see the impact of the lockdown on businesses. However, this is less than the drop Victoria had throughout the country’s first wave of COVID-19, which indicates businesses are finding new ways to operate and adapt to the situation.”

Figure 1: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change by state (August 2020 vs July 2020)


The three sectors that had the highest amount of jobs ads during August were Healthcare & Medical, Information & Communication Technology and Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics.

  • Healthcare & Medical with roles in aged care & general nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy & rehabilitation, psychology, counselling & social work, dental and medical administration.
  • Information & Communication Technology including roles for developers & programmers, business & systems analysts, software engineers and help desk & IT support.
  • Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics with roles in assembly and process work, warehousing, storage and distribution, road transport, machine operators and purchasing, procurement & inventory being in demand.

Two sectors of note are Human Resources & Recruitment and Banking & Financial Services. Both sectors sit within Professional Services, which is an area that was severely impacted during the height of the pandemic. Encouragingly, some roles in these areas have increased from July to August and are showing early signs of growth.

  • Human Resources & Recruitment was up by 12% m/m, featuring roles for consultants and generalist HR, recruiters, occupational health & safety and training & development.
  • Banking & Financial Services was up by 7% m/m, with roles for compliance & risk, retail & branch members and financial planners.

Figure 2: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change by industry (August 2020 vs July 2020)

Download August 2020 Employment Data here