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SEEK Employment Report - SEEK Job Ads At An All-time High In March 2021

The latest SEEK Employment Report shows an increase of 75.1% in national jobs advertised compared to March 2020, when the fallout of COVID-19 first impacted the labour market.

In addition to the solid y/y growth, new job ads on have increased by 10.3%, comparing March 2021 to February 2021. This is the highest month-on-month growth since June 2020.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ, comments: “What a difference a year makes. In mid-March 2020, we saw COVID have a swift and extreme impact on the labour market – 12 months on and we have seen the highest number of job ads posted on SEEK in a month than at any time in our more than 23-year history.

“It is fantastic to see so many jobs available and a real testament to Australian employers’ hard work and resilience over the last year. There are factors that are driving these strong numbers that are important to consider, including many of the jobs currently being advertised are for roles that were displaced in the last year.

“In February, applications per ad dropped 14.0% compared to February 2020, and the current applications per ad are at the lowest levels they have been since 2012.

“There are likely many reasons contributing to this decline such as: a reduced labour supply impacting the ability to fill roles; workers displaying a more cautious approach to career moves following a turbulent year; and with more jobs available, there is a knock-on effect to the number of applications per job ad posted.”

“As we contrast the current labour market conditions to 12 months ago, the change is nothing short of remarkable."

Figure 1: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change (m/m) - January 2020 to March 2021


The top three states that contributed the most to m/m job ad growth were New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.

Last month we reported that all states and territories had returned to pre-COVID levels, and that trend has continued. Looking at the month-on-month numbers and all states and territories have reported a growth in job ad numbers, with Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales being particularly strong. The only exception was the ACT which had a very small decline of 0.1%.

Kendra Banks continues: “In March, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all recorded the highest level of ad listings ever observed in their states. The ACT, Queensland and Victoria are close to their highest ever levels, whereas Western Australia’s job ad volumes are nearly equalling that of the 2012 mining boom.”

Table 2: National, state and territory job ad growth/decline comparing March 2021 to: i) February 2021 (m/m) and; ii) March 2020 (y/y)

Figure 2: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change by state (March 2021 vs February 2021)


For the second month running, every industry, except Farming, Animals and Conservation, has seen m/m growth. Increased job ad volume has been significant in some of the largest employing sectors, particularly in Hospitality & Tourism.

Kendra Banks commented, “We have seen strong growth across some key industries, with Hospitality & Tourism having a notably strong start to the year, increasing by 34.8% month-on-month.

“There are a number of factors that likely led to a bumper month for Hospitality & Tourism. There was an easing of restrictions in some major capitals meaning that customer numbers could be increased, also incentives were introduced discounting flights and accommodation as well as businesses preparing for the Easter holidays.”

Figure 3: Top three sectors job ad volumes since January 2020

All industries saw a significant drop in March 2020, and one year on, all are showing significant growth back towards and often past pre-COVID levels. The top three industries making a positive contribution to the growth of job ads m/m are Hospitality & Tourism (34.8% m/m), Trades & Services (9.1% m/m), and Healthcare & Medical (8.6% m/m).

Below is an example of the types of roles most in-demand within the top three sectors for March:

  • Hospitality & Tourism includes roles for chefs/ cooks, waiting staff, bar & beverage staff, management, kitchen & sandwich hands, and front office & guest services.
  • Trades & Services with roles in automotive trades, labourers, electricians, welders & boiler makers, technicians, carpentry & cabinet making, and hair & beauty services.
  • Healthcare & Medical with roles in physiotherapy, OT & rehabilitation, aged care nursing, dental, psychology, counselling & social work and general & surgical nursing.

Figure 4: National SEEK Job Ad percentage change by industry (March 2021 vs February 2021)

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