When COVID-19 hit the Australian job market, workers reacted in very different ways.
Some gripped onto their jobs with new-found appreciation while others suddenly saw their career in a new light and decided to make a change.
Data from job site Indeed reveals engineers and cooks were among the most likely to desire a new career following the pandemic.
Nurses and physiotherapists were most likely to feel an increased desire to stay in their field.
Indeed economist Callam Pickering says by combining job-click data and jobseeker-resume data, they derived a measure of “outclicks” – the share of jobseeker clicks on occupation groups other than their current occupation.
“Around three-quarters of all jobseeker clicks were outclicks from March 15 to September 1 this year during the COVID-19 crisis,” he says.
“Interestingly, the overall rate of outclicks nationwide is little changed from a year ago, however jobseeker behaviour has changed extensively in some occupations.
“(Outclicks are more common) in areas hit hard by health restrictions, such as food preparation and beauty and wellness, or in fields that have suffered production or construction delays, such as a range of engineering roles.
“In contrast, healthcare workers are now less likely to click on jobs outside their group.”
The biggest increases in outclicks were recorded for jobseekers working in electrical engineering (up 8.4 percentage points compared to 2019), mechanical engineering (5.9 points), food preparation (4.3 points), IT operations and helpdesk (3.3 points), beauty and wellness (3.2 points) and sales (3.1 points).
Most significant reductions in outclicks were recorded for jobseekers working in nursing (down 12.5 percentage points compared to 2019), therapy (11 points), personal care (5.8 points), software development (5.7 points), medical technology (4.4 points) and cleaning and sanitation (4.2 points).
Pickering says engineering workers considering a career change typically focus on positions that use their existing skills.
For example, mechanical engineers search for project management jobs (9 per cent of their outclicks) and electrical engineers search for installation and maintenance jobs (20 per cent of their outclicks).
Food preparation workers, however, pursue a broad range of career changes in areas such as cleaning and sanitation (8 per cent of outclicks), loading and stocking (8 per cent) and personal care (5 per cent).
Pickering says healthcare workers have become less likely to search for jobs in other occupation groups since the pandemic but when they do, they typically remain within the healthcare sector.
About a third of nurses who are looking for a career change (32 per cent) search for work in personal care.
Similarly, personal care workers are most likely to plan a move into nursing (15 per cent of outclicks).
“To be clear, searching outside your occupation group doesn’t necessarily mean you will wind up switching careers,” Pickering says.
“The path to a new career can be long and arduous.
“But it does signal that a jobseeker is open to the idea.”
FROM DELIVERING PIZZAS TO DELIVERING PEOPLE
Former hospitality worker Warwick Chaseling plans to put his customer service skills to good use in a new career as a bus driver.
The Transdev driver trainee decided to make the career change in pursuit of increased job security.
“Buses and public transport are essential, they are things that are going to be around for quite some time, which is certainty that you just don’t get in other industries,” he says.
“There’s a chance for growth and variance in the public transport industry as there are a lot of different career pathways beyond just driving, which I didn’t realise until I’d started.”
Chaseling, 34, is looking forward to getting on the road and building up a regular customer base once he finishes his training.
“I really enjoy driving and, coming from a hospitality background, I love interacting with customers,” he says.
“I am fortunate that the job allows me to combine my love of driving with my passion for customer service.”
Transdev is planning to hire 300 new trainees in 2021 across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, with as many as 100 starting by the end of January.
Roles will span buses, ferries and light rail.
Transdev Australasia chief people and culture officer Paul Birch says the public transport sector hires skills beyond driving vehicles.
“Every day our team of Journey Makers provides thousands of Australians with safe, reliable and comfortable journeys on our services, and having a highly-skilled workforce is essential,” he says.
“The opportunities at Transdev are vast and we employ everyone from drivers, mechanics, spray-painters, to transport planners, business development managers and cybersecurity experts.”
“In response to the current climate, the transport industry is changing rapidly and we are welcoming more people with transferable skills from industries such as customer service, finance and aviation into our workplace.”
Originally published as The jobs Aussies are fleeing from