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What Australia’s jobs market will look like after Covid-19

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The remote work era is here, and it’s likely to stay – but it’s not the only new trend we’ll see.

Fresh data from LinkedIn reveals three trends which are beginning to emerge as jobseekers learn how to navigate a more competitive labour market amid unemployment levels of 7.1 per cent, a high Australia hasn't seen in 19 years.

Workers are going out of their comfort zone. Employees are 1.4 times more likely to apply for jobs in different industries, especially those in badly-hit sectors such as recreation and travel.

Meanwhile, workers in essential services and sectors that have grown during the pandemic – like network infrastructure, healthcare, and delivery services – are more likely to apply for jobs in their own industry.

Educators are also feeling more bleak about their future. It’s not so much job security they’re worried about; rather, LinkedIn data reveals they are less confident about personal finances and career outlook.

The generational gap will widen. In many ways, Covid-19 has hit younger and older people hardest, and LinkedIn polling reveals Gen X are feeling the most confident about their economic and job prospects, followed by millennials.

But baby boomers and Gen Z appear to feel least confident about their economic and job prospects, but they also have the most hope that their situation might turn around in the next six months.

Meanwhile, the trades sector will continue to grow. According to independent employment and workplace expert Conrad Liveris, the trades sector has done “comparatively well in the crisis” and even saw job growth since the pandemic.

“Governments did a lot of hard work to maintain the construction and mining industries, but it wasn't always successful,” he told Yahoo Finance.

“That trades continued is a testament to the demand for those skills and abilities. These are jobs that see problems and fix them. Those are in-demand skills.”

Part-time and contract work will be on the rise. Following the coronavirus-triggered job cuts spree, businesses are more cautious about hiring full-time staff.

“Where there isn't stable full-time work, people will have to consider part-time and contract options to maintain an income that supports their lifestyle,” said Liveris. This is what’s called a ‘mixed-method income’, and looks like those who drive Uber or rent out an Airbnb for an additional stream of income.

“But we will see more people - including well-educated and professional people - combining different jobs together. That will test how businesses manage confidentiality and schedule, for example,” Liveris said.

Healthcare workers will also see pay rises. Governments and private providers will have next to no choice but to bump the wages of healthcare workers.

“They literally saved lives and the country,” he said. “It would be un-Australian to not pay them back with increases in wages and respect.”

NSW nurses will not be seeing a pay rise, however: state premier Gladys Berejiklian has cleared the first hurdle in her plan to freeze planned wage increases for NSW’s public sector workers, a move that has been slammed by unions as a ‘slap in the face’ and by experts as potentially triggering further job losses.

More people will want to become nurses or healthcare workers. “Because of the prominence of the pandemic and the role of the healthcare professionals in this we can expect people looking at new careers to consider this as their path forward,” Liveris said.

“Healthcare workers are viewed as superheroes. Everyone wants to be a superhero.”

‘Re-boarding’ will be the tough challenge. According to Indeed head of career insights Jay Munro, the challenge for employers now is to get workers back into the office, where they will come back to a “new way of working”.

“Social distancing restrictions may mean phased returns, whereby certain teams or individuals will transition back to the office environment before others,” he told Yahoo Finance.

This transition will have to be thought through in terms of its impact on collaboration and communication, he added.

“For example, those who have returned to the office environment may engage in conversations which will be more easily facilitated due to proximity, which may result in the work-from-home contingent not being privy to such discussions and thereby being ‘left-behind’.

“The challenge is how to onboard employees to this type of working arrangement to ensure all segments of staff remain engaged and productive.”

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