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The major problem facing 1-in-3 Aussie jobseekers

Jessica Yun
·5-min read
(Source: Getty)
(Source: Getty)

A third of all Australians are looking to leave their current employer in the new year amid a resurgence of job openings – but they’re running into obstacles and stressed about their financial situation, new data has revealed.

According to the latest Australia Bureau of Statistics figures, total job vacancies are up 97 per cent from six months ago. In the last three months, vacancies have risen 23.4 per cent. Online job ads have also risen for the eighth month in a row.

Amid the job resurgence, workers are looking to make the switch, with one-in-three actively job-hunting this year, fresh LinkedIn data has revealed.

But just as many Aussies (34 per cent) have struggled to find enough roles at the right level, while 27 per cent say they doubt themselves and lack confidence and another 23 per cent said they don’t have enough experience.

Anxiety about personal finances are also running high: Finder data reveals 92 per cent of unemployed Gen Y job-hunters are financially struggling, along with 87 per cent of their Gen X counterparts.

Women are also more likely than men to say that job-hunting makes them feel less confident and more inadequate (32 per cent vs 22 per cent), and more than half of women (53 per cent) find job-hunting more stressful than men (40 per cent).

‘Is there a future here for me?’

Charlene*, a 25-year-old Sydney-based employee of an Asia Pacific-headquartered airline, said she began thinking of changing jobs late last year but started hunting in earnest this week.

The airline underwent a restructure in June 2020, slashing some 8,000 staff from a global force of 35,000. Across the company, staff had either been stood down entirely or had their working week cut from five days a week to four or three.

While she enjoyed the job itself, there were several factors behind her decision to find a new one, she said, such as financial costs, professional development, and low team morale.

And when a close colleague of hers quit on the first day back to work this year, it only affirmed her desire to leave, she told Yahoo Finance.

“Seeing the reality of the company really not being in a good position was one of the reasons to start thinking: ‘Is there a future here for me?’” she said.

“Even if the industry does recover, it’s not going to be in a state where I feel like I can add value.”

“[I have to do] what’s right for my career.”

Charlene is worried that her next job may not be in an industry she enjoys. “I’m conscious of not doing a ‘spray and pray’ approach, and I want to look for a brand that would interest me,” she said.

It’s hard not to feel a sense of personal doubt in the hunt for a new job, she added. “On LinkedIn, you can see that there are 40 other applicants, and it does question my own worthiness.”

But she said she knows she has a few years of experience under her belt, and her current job has given her exposure across a range of sectors.

“But it’s still early stages – if it turns out I couldn’t find anything for a long time, I would start feeling a lot more doubt. I’m trying to be optimistic.”

Where are the jobs?

The real estate and construction sectors have actually been left better off after the pandemic, with job openings in these industries up 49 per cent and 32 per cent in the December quarter of 2020 compared to the same time in 2019.

Jobs in the software and IT services and transportation and logistics sectors have also risen 14 per cent each, while manufacturing has risen 10 per cent.

This analysis looks at the year-on-year change in the share of jobs posted in each industry as a share of all job postings on LinkedIn for 2019 vs 2020. The changes are expressed as percentage changes. (Source: LinkedIn)
This analysis looks at the year-on-year change in the share of jobs posted in each industry as a share of all job postings on LinkedIn for 2019 vs 2020. The changes are expressed as percentage changes. (Source: LinkedIn)

On the other side of the spectrum, hardware and networking jobs have nearly halved, down 48 per cent, alongside recreation and travel, down 40 per cent.

Entertainment and education job openings are also 35 per cent and 25 per cent lower between October-December 2020 compared to the same period the year prior

But sectors that have been hard-hit from the pandemic, like accommodation and food services and arts and recreation, are poised for recovery, said Indeed Asia Pacific economist Callum Pickering.

“These sectors are likely to play catch-up throughout 2021, lifting hiring activity to offset the jobs that were lost during the recession,” he told Yahoo Finance.

Healthcare, aged care and professional services are also consistently strong performing sectors, he added.

While the retail sector was forced into lockdown in the first half of 2020, the easing of restrictions and the holiday season gave the sector a second wind, Pickering added.

“It won't necessarily be smooth sailing for the retail sector, which will be hampered somewhat by the end of JobKeeper and JobSeeker, but most larger retailers are well placed to bring on new staff,” he said.

Meanwhile, the problems of the tech sector – which was already facing worker shortages – have been exacerbated by the international travel ban that has prevented skilled migrant workers from relocating to Australia.

However, this could be a boon for Aussie workers, Pickering indicated.

“That suggests that skill-shortages may increase across a range of tech roles, leading to higher wages for local talent.”

*Names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

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