That makes tech the best performing job sector in the country, Adam Gregory, senior director of talent solutions at LinkedIn, told The Australian Financial Review.

In contrast, the overall job advertisements market was down 2.8 per cent year on year, pulled lower by vanishing jobs in the education, recreation and travel and consumer goods sectors, which plummeted by as much as a quarter between March last year and March this year.

Think & Grow co-founder Jonathan Jeffries

Jonathan Jeffries says now is the time to spend money re-training workers with high-tech skills.  

“It’s clear that COVID-19 and some of the decisions that were made around that like social distancing has had an impact on job [advertisements], but some industries have been hit harder than others,” Mr Gregory said.

“Job volume and hiring growth has dramatically reduced in education since COVID-19 hit, not least because foreign students weren’t able to return to Australia to study. Hospitality and entertainment have been very, very hard hit But we’ve seen growth in IT and services, and in healthcare.”

Software engineers, in particular, were in high demand, partly because so many employers were scrambling to enable remote working and needed as many technical people as they could find, Mr Gregory said.

“The knock-on effect of all the restrictions around travel and social distancing meant that a lot of companies had to move quickly to working remotely, and that’s putting a lot of stress on IT systems and services,” he said.

Jonathan Jeffries, director of the start-up growth and talent firm Think & Grow, told the Financial Review he had been working with a coalition of tech executives from companies such as GoCardless and Spotify to lobby governments to spend some of their huge COVID-19-related jobs budgets on retraining workers for tech-related jobs.

On Friday, the Victorian government agreed in principle to do just that with some of the $500 million it had budgeted for its Working for Victoria initiative, Mr Jeffries said.

“Workers need to be able to retrain in future-economy jobs using the allowances that governments are handing out,” he said.

“People are being put in this awkward predicament of being stood down but still paid. Rather than eventually retrenching them, we should be using their out-placement budget to retrain them into future-economy work.

“Journalists who are laid off could be re-skilled into being content designers at Adobe. Analysts at consultancy firms or legal firms or banks could be re-deployed into data scientist roles or could become data and insights managers.

“A lot of white-collar work is not going to come back [after COVID]. Unlike the GFC, those jobs are not going to reappear. They’re not needed any more. We really do have to re-skill a lot of people, for them to even have a hope of getting a job again.”


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