13 May 2021
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Employment confidence on the rise as economy sees recovery post COVID

By Shannon Williams

There are strong signs of recovery for hiring for new positions across Australia and New Zealand this year, a new report has found. 

The 2021 Agency Trends Report, from recruitment software firm JobAdder, shows new jobs created and job placements were booming in first quarter of 2021.

In the period between Q4, 2020 and the end of Q1, 2021, Australia saw a 29.3% increase in new jobs while New Zealand's new job market grew by a significant 47.1%. The data also points to an optimistic and accelerated economic recovery, revealing that both Australia and New Zealand saw a YoY jump in new jobs created in Q1 20.9% and 39%, respectively.

The rise in new jobs created across Australia and New Zealand is having a positive flow-on effect with more jobseekers being hired and placement volumes soaring. Between Q4, 2020 and the end of Q1, 2021, permanent placements rose by 22% in Australia and 14.3% in New Zealand. YoY Q1 comparisons further reveal increases in permanent placements up 16.5% in Australia and 36.9% in New Zealand.

YoY Q1 comparisons show temp and contract placements grew by 33.% in Australia and 20.3% in New Zealand, whilst a YoY analysis of the month of March shows temp and contract placements rose by a huge 47.4% in Australia, and 64.1% in New Zealand. Additionally, YoY Q1 comparisons show temp and contract placements in Australia are up by 33.7% and in New Zealand have risen by 20.3%.

"While we see data daily in our platform that suggests activity has been picking up, even we were surprised at the significant positive jump across key metrics," says CEO of JobAdder, Martin Herbst.

"We started this report to offer a quarterly pulse on the job market and to hopefully shine a light on recovery as we come through the other side of the global pandemic," he says.

"None of us, however, expected such a quick turnaround. We are delighted to be able to share this data and some good news at last."

Recruitment industry expert and advisor to JobAdder, Greg Savage, adds, "Jobseekers in Australia and New Zealand can be filled with confidence in light of the findings of this report. 

"Evidently, we are not out of the woods yet and there are always large sector variations to consider," he says.

"However, it's clear that companies hiring confidence has certainly returned and we're in a markedly better position than we were at this time last year."

Savage says there is an overheated market right now. 

"A job hunting frenzy is occurring, with employee confidence sitting at a five-year high," he says. 

"There is a mix of people in the market who are desperate to get hired while, on the other end of the spectrum, there are others who have begrudgingly remained in unfulfilling roles for the security and stability that it has offered them through the pandemic, who now have the confidence to move and look at the next step up in their career," Savage explains.

"With an overheated market, there is a lot more competition for certain jobs but its a good time to ramp up your job search if your current role is missing something important," he says. 

"Changing jobs is always an opportunity and a risk, but there is plenty you can do to enhance your chances for success.

"My advice to jobseekers right now would be to approach with caution. When COVID-19 hit, many employers over-pruned their proverbial tree and let too many of their staff go," Savage adds.

"Now demand has returned in an urgent way, they cant service their customers and need to hire before they miss out on top talent."

Savage says employees should research and consider employers' performance through COVID-19 and think about if borders were to be locked down again, would their job be safe.

"Yes opportunities are flourishing, but keep your eyes wide open and don't forget to always evaluate your prospective employer," he says.

"Think about the fundamentals of why a job and a company is right for you. Is it time for you to change jobs from a long-term, career point of view? Assess each role on its merits and its potential. 

"Money is important but shouldn't be your focus, make sure you have a career plan, not a job search plan," Savage says.

"Is your next role a step up for you or is it a dead end with more money? A greater salary isn't always the best option. Changing jobs could harm your career if it's the wrong move, so be wary of jumping ship prematurely. Approach a job change strategically, don't change for the sake of making a change," he explains.

"Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, detailed, clearly showcases your niche expertise, has a strong headline and your About section outlines your Employee Value Proposition. 

"Even if you have a stellar CV, recruiters will often head immediately to your LinkedIn profile as their first stop. Some might argue a headline on your LinkedIn is a superficial play, but competition is heating and a singular point of difference could mean securing that all-important interview for yourself over another candidate," Savage says.

"Clean up your personal brand online. Post content to show engagement. Connect with the right people. Be aware people are looking at you online and assessing you based purely on what comes to their attention. Similar to what we do when we're weighing up whether to go on a date with someone new," he says.

"Boast a strong CV and get help with this if needed. Think about design, length, layout, and keywords and always give time to customising and writing a strong cover letter.

"Practice your interview skills, role play interviews, ask for a recruiters help, think about likely questions," Savage says.

"Practice telling your story, never tell a lie but put your best foot forward by painting a compelling picture about your area of expertise. Prepare for what you're going to be asked you don't want to be caught floundering. Brief your referees and make sure they are ready to speak on your behalf. Be overly protective of your reputation," he says.

"There is more flexibility in the hiring market right now, but it's not a case of timing the market, it's a case of timing your individual trajectory," Savage adds.

"Typically, the criteria employers have focused on are jobseekers' qualifications and experience. Increasingly, employers are looking at key outcomes, skills and transferable skills rather than type of experience and they are also starting to hire on potential."

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