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Why Australia and New Zealand lead the post-COVID recruitment comeback

2020 is a year most will want to forget — particularly for those in the recruiting industry. However, JobAdder’s new data on Australia and New Zealand’s job market paints a different picture — a picture of near recovery as early as Q4 of 2020. “The conversations are now about growth, expansion, opportunity and re-invention”, Greg Savage says.

Jasper Spanjaart on February 24, 2021 Average reading time: 3 min
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Why Australia and New Zealand lead the post-COVID recruitment comeback
Recruiting expert Greg Savage

With forty years of experience in the recruiting industry — the backlash of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 was unlike anything recruiting veteran Greg Savage had ever seen. Savage, one of recruitment’s very true influencers, works with JobAdder in an advisory role. “I have seen many recessions and also several self-caused disasters and emergencies”, he writes in JobAdder’s Global Recruitment Industry Report. “But I have never seen the shock, fear and disbelief that 2020 brought.”

From terrifying to heartening

As the recruiting industry seemingly struggled its way through much of 2020 — the initial phases can only be described as terrifying. Using ‘job placements’ and ‘new jobs created’ indicators, JobAdder is able to ‘take the temperature’ of the job market. Quarter 2 2020 saw a 36.7% drop in new jobs in both Australia and New Zealand. But that number comes with a warning — it doesn’t include the volume of open job orders that were cancelled. JobAdder says that the actual number is in fact significantly higher.

“When you reflect on the year recruiters went through in 2020, and the level of despair felt by many, that is a remarkable and heartening result.”

Then onto Q3 and Q4, which felt different to many working in Oceanian recruitment — but they didn’t quite have a number to put on it. Until now. “When we consider Quarter 4 2020 with the same Quarter in 2019, we see jobs entered in the JobAdder system was only 1.9% down in Australia, and in New Zealand 4.5% down”, the report says. “When you reflect on the year recruiters went through in 2020, and the level of despair felt by many, that is a remarkable and heartening result.”

Source: JobAdder. ‘New jobs created’ paints a clear image of a recovering job market.

The rise of the Kiwi

As the rest of the world was stuck in curfews and lockdowns — New Zealand and Australia were already on the road to recovery. Every month, Bloomberg publishes the ‘COVID resilience ranking’ among countries. It shows where the pandemic is handled with the least social and economic disruption. For the past 3 months, New Zealand has ranked firmly at the top. For what it’s worth — Australia comes in third in the latest standings. Both countries have dealt remarkably well with one of the biggest sociological and economical challenges in recent times.

“More than two-thirds (69%) of New Zealanders say they trust the public sector, an 18-point rise from 51% in the previous year.”

And while the rest of the world points angrily its supposedly dysfunctional governments, trust in public services couldn’t be higher for our Oceanian counterparts. The Kiwis Count Survey asks citizens for their views and experiences in correlation to their trust in public and private services. “More than two-thirds (69%) of New Zealanders say they trust the public sector, an 18-point rise from 51% in the previous year.”

‘A sanity check’

“This Report provides a sanity check for us in a world where it’s hard to believe our numbers”, Savage writes in the report. “It’s also a benchmarking tool. ‘We can do better than that surely?’ Some of my clients thrived during COVID-19. Mostly they were in Healthcare or Information Technology (IT). Others have revamped processes and even their offering. The conversations are now about growth, expansion, opportunity and re-invention. In some cases, plans are translating into improved performance. Much more fun. Long may it last.”

What metrics do you use?

If you’re drowning in a pool of data, how should you know which metrics you must use for total talent acquisition? Start focusing on the important data – we’re giving you a headstart at ToTalent Live 2021. On March 23rd, 24th and 25th, we’re hosting the first ever European Recruitment Leadership Event. Sign up for free! 

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Writer and editor at ToTalent

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