2021 year in review - Employment Report


  • Job ads reached record levels in March, and then again in April, May, October and November.
  • The three industries with the most year on year (y/y) growth were Hospitality & Tourism (76.3%), Healthcare & Medical (40.4%) and Trades and Services (34.9%).
  • Applications per job ad declined all year, reaching the lowest point on record in November.


The 2021 Australian job market can be categorised by three key trends: record-breaking job ad numbers, lowest ever applications per job ad and lockdowns impacting the labour market.

Record-breaking job ad numbers: While lockdowns across the states resulted in some fluctuation in jobs ads over the past 12 months, the overall trend has been one of steady increase nationally, with two consecutive months (October and November) experiencing record job ad numbers on site.

Applications per job ad decline: Applications, on the other hand, reached record lows in May, and have declined further to November. This is driven by increasing job ad numbers, a smaller talent pool and a nation of workers more conscious of job ad security than ever before, with 31% of Australians holding back from changing jobs as a result*.

Lockdown’s impact on the labour market: The industries hardest hit by lockdowns and with the most fluctuation in job ads were, unsurprisingly, those in client and customer facing disciplines. As our two most populous states further emerged from restrictions in November, the industries showing the most growth y/y as at November 2021 were:

1. Hospitality & Tourism (up 76.3% y/y)

2. Healthcare & Medical (up 40.4% y/y)

3. Trades & Services (up 34.9% y/y)

Of the trends seen this year Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ says, “2021 welcomed a number of record-breaking highs nationally. We saw more jobs ads on SEEK than ever before. Each state and territory recorded the highest number of ads within a month at one stage during the year, some multiple times, with multiple industries experiencing their own highest levels in SEEK history in 2021.

“With such phenomenal demand for talent, the number of applications per job ad were no match and we saw a continued decline in applications from May to November. We do have reason to be optimistic on this front, however.

“While ‘The Great Resignation’ is yet to be seen in Australia, candidate sentiment research undertaken by SEEK does point to almost one third of Australians looking to change jobs within the next six months, so we will be anticipating movement there in 2022.

“Furthermore, we expect demand for candidates to remain high as businesses attempt to secure themselves some long sought-after new talent in 2022.”

Figure 1: National SEEK job ad and applications per job ad trends since November 2019

Click for the latest SEEK Employment Report data or for more employment insights or career advice please visit SEEK’s Hiring Advice or SEEK's Career Advice

MEDIA NOTE: When reporting SEEK data, we request that you attribute SEEK as the source and refer to SEEK as an employment marketplace.