SEEK Employment Snapshot - coronavirus impacting the labour market

The impacts of COVID-19 have amplified since the start of March. For the foreseeable future SEEK will publish more regular insights into candidate behavior and job ad movements. 

Key insights

  • New job ads posted on SEEK during week ended 12 April down 68.6% compared to the same week last year
  • All sectors showing a job advertising decline
  • Victoria & New South Wales showing the biggest declines of 75.1% and 70.0% respectively 
  • Candidate visits to are down however application rates for roles in Call Centre & Customer Service have increased by more than six times over the last three weeks.  
  • 82% of Australians say their job has been directly impacted by COVID-19 with 30% having their hours reduced or losing their role completely.  


April is a tricky month to draw comparisons from due to the influence of public holidays including Easter and ANZAC Day. Easter was earlier this year, however we have calculated the new job ad volume based on working days in a week, resulting in SEEK data being representative of the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market rather than public holidays. 

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ comments: “In the week ended 12 April, we have seen new job ad posting down 68.6% compared to the same week in 2019, which follows on from the previous two weeks in 2020, both declining by -64.6% and -65.3%. It is not pleasing to see the continued impact of COVID-19 on the labour market however our data does indicate that the typical Easter decline in hiring was not as prominent this year. 

“In past years we get a notable drop in job advertising over the Easter period however this year given the already low advertising levels we have not seen such a notable decline. It also appears that with many people not taking Easter holiday breaks this buffeted the reduced advertising activity we would normally see over a holiday period.  

“Victoria and New South Wales are showing the biggest declines in the past week with job ads down 75.1% and 70.0% respectively.

The other states showed: 

  • Queensland down by 65.4%
  • Northern Territory down by 62.5%
  • South Australia down by 62.0%    
  • Tasmania down by 60.9%
  • Western Australia down by 58.3%
  • Australian Capital Territory down by 55.3%




Call centre and customer service roles are in hot demand with SEEK candidate availability data showing that over the last three weeks, roles applications for these roles increasing by more than six times (based on the same time period in 2019). 

Kendra Banks comments: “Roles in Call Centre and Customer Service have seen a huge increase in demand. We know first time jobseekers and those who have been displaced from work value roles that don’t require specific qualifications or experience and which they can quickly start. When you combine this with the ability to work from home there are a huge number of people who these jobs appeal to right now.  

For example, SEEK’s Sales and Customer Service teams are now operating from home 100% of the time, and when speaking to our clients, we know we are not the only ones that have moved these roles out of the office. This opens up flexibility and opportunity to those who wouldn’t be able to commute to an office to fit this work in around other commitments. Geography is no longer a barrier.”

FIGURE TWO: Candidate availability for Call Centre Customer Service roles



  • Healthcare & Medical: roles such as Nursing (Aged Care and General Medical), Applied Health, GPs and Psychology, Counselling & Social Work 
  • Information & Communication Technology: Developers/ Programmers, Software Engineering, Business/ Systems Analysts and Project Management 
  • Trades & Services: Automotive, Fitters, Turners & Machinists & Electricians
  • Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics: Warehousing, Storage & Distribution, Road Transport, Assembly & Process Work and Machine Operators.
  • Mining, Resources & Energy:  Engineering & Maintenance and Operations.


SEEK conducts a survey with Australians currently employed and those looking for work to understand their position on work and career related subjects.

Since 27 March we have asked if people’s working situation has changed as a result of COVID-19.

  • 82% of workers have said that the pandemic has impacted their roles, with 36% saying it has changed a little and,
  • 46% saying they have experienced major change. 
  • Only 18% remain unaffected. 

We also found that 1 in 3 Australians are now working from home and 30% have had their hours reduced or lost their role completely.   

FIGURE THREE: Responses to the question “As a result of COVID-19, which of the following have you experienced?”  (n=1,104)


FIGURE FOUR: Week 15 new job ad decline by sector based on week ended 12 April 2020 vs. week ended 14 April 2019
(sectors with * are the top 10 sectors by job ad volume) 


MEDIA NOTE: When reporting SEEK data, we request that you attribute SEEK as the source.