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  • Writer's pictureNadina

The post-lockdown job market, where will the opportunities be?

Would you have believed me if I told you in December that all the bars and restaurants would shut, and we would mostly be confined to our homes? It is incredible how the world can change in the blink of an eye.

Whilst this is still a changing and dynamic situation, we are so lucky to be in Australia, seeing restrictions gradually lifted with daily numbers in the tens rather than hundreds.

There is lots of bad economic news floating around including one worrying stat from ANZ, measuring a 53% drop in job adverts for April: Five times the largest previous drop in January 2009.

Whilst a recession is a given and we were heading that direction before Covid, there will always be job opportunities and this figure does not give a true picture of how the job market will continue as we get back to work.

With the virus locking down Australia, we have an unusual set of circumstances impacting recruitment.

  • Hiring and onboarding staff is hard to do when teams are working from home, so businesses will put hiring on hold till they are back in the office

  • People that are in jobs are not changing jobs, so movement in the job market is not happening

  • Productivity is low for almost every business in lockdown and the extra team member needed prior to the virus will be absorbed in the current team structure

  • Strategic hiring for growth has stopped

So, what will happen as we move out of lockdown? Which industries will suffer the most and how can you protect your job and future-proof your career?

We are nearing the end of the financial year and that always negatively impacts recruitment, but as we move into F21, I would expect to see things improving.

How will this play out across industries?

Construction & Engineering

The construction industry will receive state and federal investment to kick start the economy which will benefit many other sectors.

Infrastructure and commercial construction (Government) will likely remain buoyant whereas residential will likely drop off.

The residential sector was already tired with projects placed on hold due to overstock, high prices and financing issues. We can expect the housing market to drop further with higher unemployment and migration dropping off and developers will hold onto to their land.

Fitout will be another sector that will likely struggle. Businesses refurbish and upgrade in the good times and sectors that drive this industry such as hospitality, retail and hotels will not be spending.

The remedial sector is strong in Sydney following the construction boom and property managers will continue to need to make structural repairs to maintain buildings.

If you are working in residential or fitout construction, it would not be a bad idea to look at transitioning to the commercial sector, remedial and Government-funded projects.


The technology sector is likely to remain strong, apart from internal roles within industries that are continuing to be impacted. With the lockdown, we have been limited to food, essential services, transport, and technology.

I suspect that a legacy of lockdown will be businesses investing in technology to support their teams to optimise remote working.

SaaS and Cloud businesses are likely to thrive, but managed services and data infrastructure providers could take a hit with fewer people relying on office infrastructure.

Sales, Marketing & Communications

Marketing, communications and sales are also likely to remain quite buoyant. When the market shrinks and businesses have to fight harder for clients, they invest more in their messaging and business development.

It will depend on the industry you work in and now would be a good time to look at the risk within your business, to see if it’s time to move to an industry that will weather the storm.

Entertainment, Tourism & Hospitality

The hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors will remain very challenged and the last to reopen. Our usual leisure habits are likely to be restricted for some time.

Local tourism will lose overseas travellers, but we will be holidaying locally or interstate before we head overseas.

According to the Government, 9 million international tourists visited Australia F19 which is a lot of slack to take.

If you are working in the international sector, look for home-grown tourism roles.

Many Government service areas are booming, keep an eye on Government websites for roles that match with your experience as a safe haven through these troubled waters.

Retail & Ecommerce

Bricks and mortar retail is another sector that was challenged even before the virus. With high rents, shoppers tiring of fast fashion and the growth of eCommerce, this sector has challenges ahead. More shoppers than ever have been buying online in the lockdown and many will continue this habit as we open up.

Retail landlords will need to rethink leasing prices and policies or risk multiple empty tenancies with businesses becoming untenable. Empty shops reduced foot traffic and

Ecommerce businesses will be buoyant. They are fuelled by warehouse teams, picking, and packing our orders, technology, marketing and customer service advisors, rather than the retail sales assistant.

For those retail workers that have lost their jobs or seen a huge drop in foot traffic, look at opportunities in eCommerce.


One thing I really hope to see is a lift in manufacturing. Covid has woken everyone up to the issues with reliance on overseas manufacture and one might hope this will boost the local market.

The Australian dollar is not healthy, purchasing from overseas is more costly but it’s a positive for the export market.

Banking & Financial Services

Banking and financial services will always have a degree of consistency, but we are seeing profit warnings from major FS companies and the downturn will increase bad debts and decrease borrowing and investment.

People involved in finance and investment will be impacted, whereas debt recovery and the bankruptcy sector will be busy.

The Government

The Government will be a safe haven as we recover and there are many roles that have an easy transition from the private sector. Keep your eye on state, federal and local Government websites for career opportunities.

Now is the time to start thinking strategically to future proof your career and if you are vulnerable, look at transitioning your skills to a safer sector.

I have a business where I write winning resumes, LinkedIn profiles and coach my clients on effective job-hunting and strategic career planning.

I work as a job-seeking mentor to my clients, supporting them to be effective jobseekers and make strategic career decisions based on their goals and the market.

I love a chat so if you need any assistance in any of these areas, give me a call 0437 590 411 (M-F 9 am to 6 pm).

If you are struggling due to Covid, I am offering a free CV review so send me your CV and a couple of links to the types of roles you have been targeting and I will give you actionable tips.

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