As Australia opens back up for businesses, jobseekers are once again searching for roles in hospitality and other hard-hit sectors

Chefs rush back to the kitchen. (Christoph Schmidt via Getty Images)
  • Australian job hunters have been at the forefront of a changing labour market, as they try to navigate an economy in flux.
  • Analysis from job site Indeed shows how different sectors have fared with the shutdown, with hospitality and retail jobs again in hot demand.
  • The number of searches for delivery driver jobs meanwhile has declined alongside farm and supply chain workers, as other opportunities emerge.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

The Australian job market has just undergone what will go down as its strangest few months on record, as businesses begin reopening their doors.

While the business shutdown in March left job seekers out in the cold, they’re now being welcomed back into the fold – and it shows.

Analysis by job site Indeed, provided exclusively to Business Insider Australia, shows just how the workforce adapted over the months leading up to May.

“Early in the crisis, job seekers reacted swiftly to new hiring announcements. Australia’s supermarket sector, led by Coles and Woolworths, was one of the chief beneficiaries,” Indeed Asia-Pacific economist Callam Pickering said. “At its peak, more than 10% of all searches on Indeed AU were directed at Australian supermarkets, around seven times higher than normal.”

However, while those same people might have been shoved unceremoniously out of hard-hit industries, they’re now hoping to be taken back into the fold as venues and shop re-open.

“In the week ending 22 May, searches for cafe and restaurant were up 56% and 49%, respectively, compared with two weeks earlier. Rapid search growth is also apparent for terms such as chef, cook, barista and hospitality.”

As the likes of Merivale begin reopening, hospitality might be dominating the surge in search traffic but it’s not the only sector looking to make a comeback. Searches for retail jobs were up around 30%, while the reopening of dentists saw dental assistant positions jump by a similar margin.

However, it’s hardly business as usual quite yet.

“While job seekers are certainly more interested in hospitality and retail, their search share is still
somewhat below pre-crisis levels. That reflects a number of factors, including a limited number of new job postings in those areas, along with staggered re-openings across the country,” Pickering said.

Despite demand for workers in these areas still lagging, many will soon be forced to begin applying again. From June, JobSeeker 1 recipients will again be required to search for and apply for jobs to receive their benefit.

With many left desperately looking for a steady income, Indeed saw roaring demand for ‘driver’ and ‘delivery driver’ roles that is only just beginning to abate.

“Delivery driver, which requires little to no training, was particularly attractive to Australians who had lost their jobs or been stood down temporarily. Even with the current decline, searches for driver or delivery driver is still well above pre-crisis levels,” Pickering said.

Perhaps reflecting a decline in demand for groceries and other essentials, job searches for farm work, pharmacy assistants and supply chain functions like forklift drivers and stackers have also fallen sharply.

With restrictions only just beginning to ease now, and unemployment expected to only rise from here, job hunters aren’t out of the woods just yet.