Australia’s top 20 most-needed workers

As Australia continues to grapple with COVID-19, employers across key industries are experiencing a new level of demand for workers. The competition for talent in these areas can be tough.

So, which industries and roles are in demand now, and what strategies can help employers attract new workers where they’re needed most?

Here’s a snapshot of the top 20 most-needed workers, plus insights on attracting talent to these areas.

Most-needed workers
Current rank
Change since Feb
Nursing-All roles 1 0
Warehousing, Storage & Distribution 2 +4
Aged & Disability Support 3 +5
Automotive Trades 4 +3
Administrative Assistants 5 -3
Sales Representatives / Consultants 6 -3
Physiotherapy, OT & Rehabilitation 7 +2
Childcare & Outside School Hours Care 8 +4
Chefs / Cooks 9 -4
Retail Assistants 10 0
Developers / Programmers 11 -7
Mining - Engineering & Maintenance 12 +2
Labourers 13 +12
Road Transport 14 +12
Psychology, Counselling & Social Work 15 +9
Dental 16 +17
Child Welfare, Youth & Family Services 17 +22
Plant & Machinery Operators 18 +20
Business / Systems Analysts 19 -8
Mining - Operations 20 +8

How COVID-19 has created demand for workers

Ivan Colhoun, Chief Economist at NAB, says that as Australia continues to face the COVID-19 health crisis, nurses have been vital in helping the healthcare industry to meet growing demand.

“Some frontline workers in hospitals and aged care may also be dropping out of the industry because of the strain,” he says. “This will be adding to the demand for health workers.”

While healthcare features high on the Top-20 list, road transport also recorded a growth in demand for workers.

Colhoun says this may be due to lockdown restrictions leading to a lift in online retailing.

“There was more online activity with many stores having to close their doors and increase their e-commerce focus,” he says. “That has a flow-on effect for logistics as well, as more people are needed for warehousing and then for home delivery.”

How to attract in-demand workers

With workers in Nursing and Aged & Disability Support in greater demand across the country, you may need to work a little harder get ahead of the competition for talent.

Adam Hislop-Reynolds, General Manager NSW, Queensland and Victoria at Healthcare Australia, says healthcare workers are generally attracted to organisations that offer career development, flexible conditions and a positive culture. However, COVID-19 has led them to prioritise a key workplace attribute: safety.

“Healthcare workers want to work in a safe environment, first and foremost,” he says. “Getting nurses to cross the COVID line, particularly in the aged care sector in Victoria, is becoming really hard, so they are jumping at the chance to work in places like contact-tracing centres or tele-triage.

“Everyone is trying to fish in the same pond at the moment, so recruitment can be a challenge, but what all healthcare workers really want at the moment is a safe environment to go to everyday. I’d suggest that employers should emphasise a commitment to safely more than ever.”

To attract talent in Road Transport or Warehousing, Storage & Distribution, Tim James, Managing Director of Hays recommends promoting your business stability and workplace culture.

“In the current market it’s important that employers communicate the benefits of their business if they are to stand out and attract the top talent,” he says. “Businesses that can prove they are stable or growing are of greatest interest to candidates.

“They are also looking for a work culture that is dynamic and in-tune enough to retain staff, which means you must promote your culture in your candidate attraction process. At the same time, the best talent want to work for an organisation that has genuinely invested in an employee value proposition.”

More tips for attracting talent now

For many organisations, attracting talent comes with new challenges now. But there are strategies and tools that can help. From a practical perspective, adjustments to make to your hiring process for COVID-19 and beyond may include tweaks to your job ads. Focusing on candidates’ transferable skills is another strategy worth considering – some employers have found it’s helped to broaden talent pools.

For hiring teams, finding ways to adapt and optimise now might include utilising in-house talent and leveraging technology. Finally, when it comes to what employees value, there’s more you can offer talent aside from money: drivers such as learning, purpose, flexibility or equality can also be attractive to talent.

As COVID-19 continues to shape the job market, we’ll keep you posted on which industries have the biggest demand for employees to help you plan your recruitment strategy.

Source: SEEK job ads listed on in Feb 2020 and July 2020.
Published August 2020

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