Few would have predicted the significant economic and social impacts we are experiencing in 2020. With more than 45 million COVID-19 cases worldwide we have felt the effects in the ANZ region not only in the changes in how we go about our everyday lives but in the significant job losses across both countries.
In Australia 1 in 5 people left the workforce or reduced their hours over March and April and 1.7M New Zealand workers received wage subsidy payments from March until June 2020.
Already over-represented in unemployment figures, a report from The Australian Government’s Productivity Commission showed the jobless rate for young Australians aged 20 to 24 rose to 13.9% in June, with almost 150,000 jobs disappearing since the start of the year. The latest Ministry of Social Development figures in New Zealand showed the percentage of 18 to 29-year-olds on the job seeker’s allowance rose from 4.1% to 6.5% between February and April, double the amount of those over 30.
The Road to Recovery
Tracking job ad volumes has long been used to plot major turning points in unemployment. According to SEEK data, Australia is experiencing a slowing recovery due to the Victorian lockdown, with ad volumes sitting at 81% of pre COVID levels. In New Zealand job ads saw a flat recovery from April reaching 72% of pre-COVID levels by the end of July.
Looking across regions there are marked differences in the rate of recovery. West Australia and South Australia have seen more jobs advertised than pre-COVID whereas Queensland has seen no material change. In New South Wales and Victoria, where the majority of COVID cases occurred in Australia, it’s a different story with ad volumes at 77% and 60% respectively. Across the Tasman the same trend can be seen with Auckland, the only New Zealand city to experience a second lockdown, showing ad volumes at just 51% of pre-COVID levels compared with the rest of New Zealand sitting at 75%.
As job volumes increase, those whose livelihoods have been impacted most by COVID-19 are looking to get back into secure employment. People who were stood down or placed on reduced hours are re-evaluating their current employer, and comparing how they stack up against their competitors. For organisations who had to take these measures and are now facing the challenge of motivating and retaining their workforce, now is the time to consider the role your Employer Brand has to play.
A strong, well-communicated Employer Brand reminds employees who may be thinking of leaving why they joined your organisation, and what’s kept them there to date. Talent acquisition teams, who are likely to find themselves inundated with applications at this time, will benefit from a pipeline of more strongly qualified applicants, who have been provided with the information required to determine their suitability for your organisation.
Reviewing your processes, your identity as an employer and how you’re communicating this to your people will be time well spent to help offset the impacts of COVID-19 on employee engagement and retention.
If your organisation is considering investing in your Employer Brand, reach out today we’d love to hear from you. We’ve worked with industry sectors across the board and would love to discuss how you can communicate the ways in which your organisation shines through adversity.