Students face post-COVID job uncertainty

The ING Bank Future Focus Report released this week has found almost half of all millennials in Australia will be looking for a new job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, an increasingly uncertain job market awaits recent and upcoming graduates from TAFE and university. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that payroll jobs have fallen by 7.3 per cent from mid-March to early May 2020.

These statistics could greatly impact young people trying to find work in an already difficult job market.

This week the Federal Court ruled that regular casual shift workers who are paid 25 per cent loading may also be entitled to benefits such as annual leave.

The WorkPac v Rossato case ruling has changed the definition of casual employment and understanding that casuals are paid 25 per cent loading instead of permanent staff entitlements.

Australian Industry Group chief executive, Innes Willox, says the decision could discourage employers from engaging new employees and increase unemployment among young people who are already disadvantaged in the labour market.

Martha Silaban, a current Curtin University student, has been struggling to find work since last year.

“I’ve applied through LinkedIn and sent online applications. I have experience as an administrator and personal assistant so I applied for that kind of job,” she says.

“I’ve also searched and applied for jobs that are relevant to my major in Creative Practices.”

Ms Silaban says she is finding it hard to remain optimistic during the current health crisis.

“When the pandemic first emerged, I read in the news that many people had been laid off. I felt very discouraged and hopeless,” she says.

“I was thinking to go back home [overseas] after I complete my studies but the situation back home is not much better.”

Ms Silaban is not alone.

ING reported findings that one in three Australians expect job opportunities to be very hard to come by as a result of the current crisis.

Curtin University career development consultant Stuart Hunter says students should see this as an opportunity to try something different.

“Whilst the job market remains relatively cautious, this is not likely to be a situation to continue forevermore,” he says.

“This can also be a good chance to take the time to revamp your online presence as that will be the first point of contact that employers will be having.”

Mr Hunter says while the economy has been really heavily impacted, he holds hope things will improve.

“The biggest hit sectors such as sports, recreation, arts, entertainment and hospitality, they’ve seen a significant downturn simply because they’ve been unable to provide a service,” he says.

“Overtime as restrictions ease and these industries are allowed to trade once more, more and more staff will be required to meet the demand. [This] will signal the beginning of a slow re-start to what is currently a stalled economy.”