The world is now aware of the impact COVID19 has had on the global economy, the labour market, and jobs. We’re living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. But things got dark and real on the 9th of March when the stock market crashed. Westpac’s forecast predicts that Australian unemployment is set to climb to 11.1%. These numbers are very close to the recession peak in the 90s.
It’s heartbreaking what is currently happening out there to people’s jobs, and livelihoods. But now is the time to step up as employment services leaders. We cannot control the COVID19 outbreak, the labour market, or the rising unemployment rate. We cannot control how many of our jobseekers will lose their jobs, or how many of our employers will be out of business, but what we can control is how we react to this chaos with calm, confidence and most importantly empathy.
There will be two types of employment practitioners and jobseekers during a time like this. Those who will see the opportunities around and jump on, and those who will see defeat and lose heart.
Before I go into the opportunities currently out there, I want to highlight the industries, and sectors most affected are by COVID19 are, travel, accommodation, hospitality, retail, hairdressing and beauty services, events, entertainment. But even agriculture, oil and gas extraction, basic material wholesaling, services businesses and commercial real estate have taken a hit.
We have also heard about how Qantas will be standing down almost 30,000 of their employees from late March. And many airlines worldwide are going bust.
But as we all know that in every war, recession or great depression, there are some industries, sectors and jobs that boom, and the COVID19 outbreak did have some positive effects on the Australian economy.
For example, we have seen products supplied by businesses that operate in food, beverage, sanitary, and cleaning products sell out because of panic buying happening across not just Australia, but the world.
Depending on how long it may take to fight this bio war, some industries who are suffering directly may benefit later, such as positive offsets in a rise in the demand for maintenance and repair. Or a sudden urge to socialise, shop and eat out.
I have spent several days doing research on the current Australian labour market, industries and jobs that are currently booming. I want to help as many people, whether it is those in employment services helping unemployed people into work, or jobseekers tap into these opportunities. Or even salespeople, and entrepreneurs who are looking for clients to serve.
If you're an employment pratitioner, or jobseeker reading this, I want you to think about every position that could be available out there, from the janitor to exec level. Also think about some of the support these industries may need, from a virtual assistant to assist with the overwhelming emails and social media messages. Incoming phone operators who can keep up with the volume of calls, to IT personnel who will aid with crashing of websites.
Each time you come across a demand, take the time to think about how this can be a job carving opportunity. Or even a work experience opportunity for those businesses who are struggling.
Here are some of the 10 industries, sectors and jobs that are thriving at the moment. For how long? Time will only tell.
1. Food, hand sanitiser, and toilet paper wholesalers
Wholesalers of other goods, such as food, hand sanitizer and toilet paper have seen a spike in purchases as people are stocking up for lockdown. An Australian toilet paper wholesaler, Bulk Wholesale posted on their Facebook page that they won’t be able to answer by phone as they have an overwhelming amount of people to get to. There are many Australian wholesalers out there, you just have to do the research, make the connections and reach out.
2. Hand sanitiser, toilet paper and cleaning product manufacturers
These are the most demanded products amidst this pandemic. In order to meet the demand of panicked consumers, a Nowra-based chemical manufacturer is currently working overtime. In the past few months, China alone has ordered 72,000 liters of hard surface cleaner from the company. The company’s managing director John Lamont said they would produce around the clock at full capacity while there was a market for it. They are expected to keep producing at this fast rate for the next three months. There are many other manufacturers across Australia also working overtime to meet consumer demands.
3. Large and small supermarkets and convenient stores
People are not only panic buying to stock up for a lockdown, but are also not eating out much due to restrictions. So supermarkets have been busy, not only fighting off toilet paper wars, but trying to keep up with customer volume. Coles recently announced that it will hire 5,000 casual team members for its stores nationwide. And Woolworths has offered to hire some of the 20,000 Qantas workers who were recently laid off.“We’re facing unprecedented demand for food and groceries across Australia right now and will need more hands-on deck to help meet the needs of our customers in the coming months,”Said Woolworths’ chief people officer Caryn Katsikogianis.
4. Telecom operators
Now that people have become more physically and socially isolated, the demand for the internet has increased. Homeworkers are finding themselves to be more reliant on faster internet from home while they take conference calls.
Telstra staff who were about to be made redundant as part of the T22 restructuring plan have been granted a six months deferment to help with economic stimulus efforts in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. But not only that, but it will be hiring an additional 1000 local staff in order to help with call centre volumes. Their plans are also to bring forward their $500 million spendings on 5G which was meant to be spent the second half of 2020-21.
5. Online niche retailers
There has been a spike in people buying office equipment because more people are now having to work from home. And since gyms have shut down, many dedicated fitness enthusiasts are now doing their workouts at home. Amazon has reportedly hired 100,000 new workers worldwide in order to fulfill the increased online demand. And because of physical and financial restrictions, there will be many people ordering DYI products, from home maintenance, appliances, to beauty.
6. Cleaning services
Professional cleaners have been busy across Australia helping control the spread of the coronavirus. The operations manager of Cleancorp Hela Mejri said,“It’s been very busy, we jumped from working eight hours a day to almost 24 hours, seven days a week."
Meanwhile, Transport Canberra's team of cleaners have ramped up their schedules to respond to COVID-19 and to help protect the community as the virus sweeps through Australia. It was announced last week my transport minister Chris steel that cleaning measures will increase to twice a day. “The work of our cleaners has never been more important and more appreciated by the community as we seek to keep Canberrans healthy,"Mr Steel said.
Also, Australian schools, hospitals and public shopping centres nationwide are also increasing cleaning measures.
7. Logistics and delivery
Coles and Woolworth had to shut their online delivery services due to significant item shortage and driver unavailability. Both companies have said that they have seen a huge increase in online orders due to many Australians self-isolating or working from home. To solve this issue, they have put out calls to hire more workers including delivery drivers working closely with third delivery services. It’s not just large delivery services that have seen an increase in demand, but also smaller ones such as UberEATS, Deliveroo, and many others.
8. Community services and development
Approximately 50,000 new disability and aged care support roles are predicted to be available within the next 5 years. According to the latest seek data, this sector had been rising more than 18.7 percent since February 2019. This sector includes child welfare, youth services, aged and disability support, multicultural services, Indigenous and, community development and management, volunteer coordination support, child welfare and youth services, housing and homelessness services, employment services, as well as fundraising. There will also be a rise in face to face, online and call Centrelink workers as hundreds and thousands of people try to access the new coronavirus stimulus payments.
9. Health care sector
There will always be sick people, so this makes this sector stable and strong. And there will be some doctors currently working around the clock to bring forward elective surgeries in case there’s a burden on hospital bed capacity due to a coronavirus outbreak. Important key players in this sector include, doctors, nurses, clinics, and hospitals, researchers, scientists, and corporations in the pharmaceutical industry, policymakers, medical device manufacturers, information technology technicians and organisations.
10. Financial hardship services
During this time, many people will be going through financial hardships, consolidate debt, borrow money and get their finances in order. There will be a need for specialists to assist them through this, such as financial assist officers, collections officer, insolvency specialists, and debt recovery. Depending on how extensive and extended this pandemic is, will depend on how many of these specialists are needed. Also, since the government is going into partnerships with the banks and other lenders to help SMEs and corporations, demand for lenders and support staff could surge. The Commonwealth Bank's hardship department has reported recently that they have been receiving thousands of requests a day in their mortgage, personal loan or credit card repayments, as lenders struggle to manage staff to handle the surge in incoming calls.
I hope that this article has been somehow beneficial to understand where some of the current labour market opportunities lay.
I will leave you with this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. ,“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”