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Employers' Recruitment Insights

COVID-19 Update

The Australian labour market is changing rapidly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop.

While the resources on this page are still relevant, some information and advice may be less applicable, given the significant impacts of COVID-19 on the labour market.

We are working to update our resources where possible, but in the meantime, some key things to consider during this time are:

  • • If you are looking for a job, try to keep an open mind and be as flexible as possible. For example, don’t restrict your search to familiar industries. Consider industries and sectors that currently need more workers like transport and logistics, some segments of retail and wholesale trade, health care and some manufacturing industries.

  • • Continue to check as many recruitment websites as you can as employers will continue to use them to fill their vacancies. You should also check the websites of big employers, as many of them only advertise vacancies on their own websites.

  • • Be proactive in seeking employment by approaching employers directly (e.g. by email or by phone), checking social media, including Jobs Groups on Facebook, and reaching out through your network of family and friends.

  • • When speaking with employers, provide as much availability as you can and think about how your skills and experience may be useful in new jobs or industries. Employers will be looking for reliable and flexible workers, with good communication skills who can learn new tasks quickly and adapt to new working environments. If you can, give examples from your work history which highlight these skills.

  • • Take time to update your résumé and cover letters, ensuring they are up-to-date and accurate. Consider asking someone to proofread and spellcheck for you.

It can be challenging to identify the skills you have built in past jobs and understand how this experience equips you to work in other jobs you may not have considered. Skills Match is a career exploration feature on the Job Outlook website designed to help you identify your skills, and present you with new job ideas you may be able to transfer these skills into.

The labour market is likely to become extremely competitive in the coming months. Consider using this time to upskill to keep up with employer expectations and build your confidence and competitiveness. While you may need to compromise in the short-term, every job will help you gain new skills and experiences.

Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences

Finding a job can be hard. It is difficult to know what employers want and where they are searching. To try to answer those questions, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment speaks to over 10,000 employers each year from around Australia. The survey collects information about how employers recruit and what they are looking for in applicants, identifying practical ways job seekers can better connect with employment opportunities.

A summary of the 2018 results are available in the following links:

Below, you can find advice for all job seekers, as well as specific advice for groups including youth, mature age workers, and retrenched workers.

For more information about the survey or any of the resources below, please call 1800 059 439 or email employmentpathwaysanalysis@dese.gov.au.

What employers want

Employers are looking for the specific combination of qualifications, skills and experience needed by their business. However, there are several things employers commonly look for:

  • • Education and training: work in Australia is becoming more skilled, and around 90 per cent of new jobs in the future will require a Vocational Education and Training (VET) or university qualification.

  • • Employability skills: the top skills sought by employers are communication skills, team work, problem solving ability, organisational skills, and creativity and initiative.

  • • Experience: workplace experience gives you a foot in the door, and contacts and referees. Options include work experience placements, part-time or casual jobs, temporary or contract jobs, apprenticeships or traineeships, internships and volunteering.

Where to find a job

Infographic showing methods used by employers. The first panel shows recruitment websites and jobs boards used by 55% of employers with vacancies, word of mouth by 32%, Recruitment agency/government employment services by 15%, Social Media by 13%, Newspaper by 11% and approached by job seeker by9%

Source: Survey of Employers' Recruitment Experiences, 2018

Although many jobs are advertised on recruitment websites and jobs boards (55 per cent), there are other methods that are popular with employers including word of mouth (32 per cent), recruitment agencies and government employment services (15 per cent), social media (13 per cent), newspapers (11 per cent) and by being approached directly by a job seeker (9 per cent). Some employers may use more than one recruitment method.

Employers’ top three tips

  • 1. You need an excellent résumé and job application that is short, gives examples and is free from spelling and grammatical errors.

  • 2. Every job is unique, and your approach to each application should be tailored. Research the business and explain how your skills make you the right fit for that role.

  • 3. Prepare for the interview by practicing interview questions, preparing some questions about the job and business, explain what skills you will bring to the job, and plan what you will wear.

Additional resources:

Recruitment perceptions and trends

Youth and students

Mature age

Occupation profiles


Other useful research and information

Posters for job seekers

The department produces a range of posters for job seekers. For printable copies, please click the link below:

Supporting data

Employment Projections

Where will the jobs be in the future? The Department of Education, Skills and Employment projects employment growth over the next five years by region, industry, and occupation.

Vacancy Report

Online job advertising levels and trends by region, occupation and skill level are detailed in the monthly vacancy report.

Employers’ Recruitment Insights

The Survey of Employers' Recruitment Experiences is used to monitor recruitment conditions and to provide up-to-date information on regional labour market challenges.

Workforce Shortages

The Department carries out research to identify workforce shortages at the state, territory and/or national level for around 80 occupations.