• Raelene Talbot

Not today COVID19

COVID-19 – How Has It Impacted Employment?

2020 is a year few could have predicted, and even fewer will forget. With huge impacts on individuals and groups alike, we wanted to take a moment to assess how COVID-19 has impacted employment, and how we can work together to increase Indigenous employment rates in the wake of the pandemic.

How has COVID-19 affected businesses?

“The COVID-19 crisis is affecting the majority of businesses with the demand for their goods and services and cash flow considerably reduced.” - Impact of COVID-19 on Australian Businesses Part 2

With many businesses closing during the pandemic, and others facing huge changes to their operating procedures, a large proportion of Australian businesses have been impacted by COVID-19. According to Government surveys conducted between March and April 2020, “Some 54 per cent of businesses reported that COVID-19 had affected their business ‘a great deal’ with another 25 per cent reporting that it had affected their business ‘somewhat’.” (Impact of COVID-19 on Australian Businesses Part 2).

While Government incentives have helped companies to stay in business, there’s no doubt that COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on many Australian businesses, both large and small.

How has COVID affected employees?

“many businesses reported they have reduced staff hours or let staff go [due to COVID-19]” - Impact of COVID-19 on Australian Businesses Part 2

With COVID affecting businesses so acutely, it’s no surprise that employees, and potential employees, have also been affected. More than a third of businesses in production and service industries (such as manufacturing, construction, water and waste services etc) have reduced their staff during the pandemic (National Skills Commission staffing update on selected industries, 22 June 2020). While most businesses plan to rehire some or all of their staff, surveys show that 19% of businesses won’t rehire after the pandemic (Impact of COVID-19 on Australian Businesses Part 1).

At the end of the day, people have lost their jobs. For some, this has been a temporary hurdle, while others are scrambling to find new work. Not only this, but businesses simply haven’t been hiring, making it difficult for the recently and already unemployed to find work. COVID-19 has had record impacts on employment, with the unemployment rate rising to 7.1% in May 2020, “the highest rate recorded since October 2001” (LMIP Labour Force Summary).

A large proportion of those impacted by COVID-19 are casual employees, and if you’ve read my blog post on Indigenous Youth and Employment, you’ll know that Indigenous peoples are much more likely to be engaged in casual work than their non-Indigenous counterparts. The fact of the matter is this: it was already hard for Indigenous peoples to gain full-time employment. Now it’s even harder.

Will Employment Increase After the Pandemic?

While the affects of COVID-19 on employment are distressing, there is still hope for the future. With more businesses reopening and restrictions being lifted, more businesses are beginning to hire again (Update on Future Staffing Expectations, 26 May 2020). This means that those looking for work should find more opportunities over the coming months as more businesses start hiring staff and seeking employees.

Now is the perfect opportunity for Indigenous peoples to upskill, gaining valuable job-relevant skills to help them on their employment journey. Our Job Ready Programs can help you prepare for the workforce post COVID-19, with ongoing mentoring and assistance in locating, applying for, and keeping jobs relevant to you.

With the immense changes that COVID-19 has placed on employment, now is also a great opportunity for businesses to increase diversity in the workforce by hiring Indigenous peoples to fill the gaps that COVID-19 has left. By partnering with an Indigenous business such as Barra-gi, we can help find solutions to your staffing, all while Closing the Gap in Indigenous employment.

If you’re a business or individual looking for help in the wake of COVID-19 contact me today.

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