The data for job advertisements across the economy, across all occupations, across the country is showing a record breaking terrible situation. Can it get any worse? Will it ever be this bad again? Unlikely. As well as economic uncertainty and the shutdown of sections of the economy, the government has also contributed to freezing the job market with the JobKeeper scheme. In many cases, new employees are $1,500 per fortnight more expensive than existing employees.

In April 2020, job advertisement numbers for solicitors were 40% below that of April 2019. On a positive note, demand did not drop to zero. 

The graph below (for Australia – all occupations) shows the number of jobs advertised (on the internet). April 2020 is below the worst period of the GFC and that was at a time when internet advertising was not as prevalent as it is today and the population of the country was around 15% less. 


Listen to a recent interview with Jason Elias of Elias Recruitment on a behind-the-scenes look at the state of the legal employment market. Link to interview

According to the job market may have hit its lows in April 2020.

From Seek:

The impact of COVID-19 has amplified since the start of March 2020. The pandemic has had an extreme impact on the job market.



  • New job ads posted on SEEK during April are down by -65.6% year on year 
  • New job ads posted on SEEK during April are down by -49.9% month-on-month 
  • The rate of job advertising decline is easing. Job ad data from the first two weeks of May shows marginal improvement, suggesting the employment market may have turned a corner 


  • New South Wales and Victoria continue to be hardest hit in April with job advertising down -52.4% and -56.3% compared to March 2020 
  • Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory are down -42.4%, -43.9%, -41.9% and -25.2% in April, showing the lowest level of declines across all states and territories 

The latest SEEK Employment Report shows that job advertising volumes may have turned a corner after reaching a low point mid-way through April. 

During April, job ad volumes showed a decline of -49.9% month-on-month, however, recent week-on-week job ad data looks slightly more promising. 

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ comments:  

“It is encouraging to see that we may be at a turning point in the employment market as the latest figures in May point to an easing in the rate of job advertising decline. April was the first full calendar month where we had a clear indication of how coronavirus was impacting the employment market. The full set of social isolation measures were not imposed until mid-March, which explains why March job ad declines were -27.4%, compared to April’s decline of   -49.9%. 

In the week ended 10 May, job advertising was down -59.7% compared to the same week last year. At the lowest point in April, week ended 19 April shows a job ad decline of -69.1% compared to the same week in 2019. This 10% shift means we may have turned a corner after reaching a particularly low point of decline.  

Different industries have been impacted in different ways, as a direct result of their operating models. The Mining, Resources & Energy sector is holding up reasonably well, showing a decline of -11% for the month, which is the lowest level of decline across all industries. 

Retail & Consumer Products and Hospitality & Tourism have suffered due to the significant restrictions imposed on their license to operate, with month on month job ad declines of -55% and -59.6% respectively.

In the first two weeks of May, we have seen job ad volumes slowly creep back up, which aligns to the will of governments to get the economy moving and get people back into jobs. We know this will take some time, which is why we are cautious to be too positive at this point. 

As job ad volumes start to slowly return, candidate applications remain high, making the job seeking process even more competitive than usual.  The SEEK COVID-19 candidate hub is available to help people find work, offer job loss support, and tips and resources to work differently, like working remotely.” 

Western Australia appears to have been the least affected of the states with a lower level of job ad decline in April, down -42.4% month on month. Early May data also points to WA potentially being the first state on the road to recovery. Construction, Mining, Resources & Energy and Trades & Services sectors are offering increased job opportunities. 

South Australia follows closely, with a month-on-month decline of -43.9% in April. Government & Defence, Information & Communication Technology and Construction sectors are offering increased job opportunities for jobseekers. 

New South Wales and Victoria job ad data indicates that these two states have been the most impacted by the pandemic, showing month-on month declines of -52.4% and -56.3% compared to March 2020.