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Oz and Kiwi recruiters best at surfing second Covid waves

International recruitment markets are bouncing back from the impact of Covid-19, though subsequent waves in the UK, the US and Canada are prolonging economic uncertainty, new research findings reveal.


The inaugural 2020 Global Recruitment Report, released by global recruitment software company JobAdder, takes a deep dive into the impact of Covid-19 on the Australian and New Zealand markets, compared to other markets such as the UK, the US and Canada. It includes insights and analysis from international recruitment expert Greg Savage.

Commenting on the report’s main findings, JobAdder CEO Martin Herbst says: Overall, the numbers paint a fairly positive picture of the recruitment sector as they demonstrate market recovery and an upward trend for new jobs, placements and agency user numbers, across all of the geographic markets. 


“While it is very encouraging to see the market showing signs of recovery, it’s prudent to remain cautiously optimistic as there is still significant economic uncertainty as Covid-19 remains unresolved, particularly in the UK, US and Canada, which are experiencing more pronounced subsequent waves."


New Job Orders

Recruitment agencies in Australia started strong in 2020 with new job orders growing from December 2019 to February 2020. The initial effects of Covid-19 brought a sizable dip in March by 13%, followed by a significant collapse in April, with new job orders dropping by 46.4%. New Zealand agencies were even starker, showing a massive 61.7% decline in orders from March to April.  


From May, the number of new job orders started to climb again in Australia, although there was a small drop off in August, where the impact of Melbourne’s ‘second wave’ and the subsequent lock-down laws were likely to blame. New Zealand saw a powerful bounce back from April and has flatlined since June, likely due to the country’s low Covid case numbers helping them to return to ‘Business as Usual’. 


The UK followed almost the same pattern as New Zealand, showing a 60.5% decline in orders from March to April, while the US and Canada dropped 38.8% over the same period.

The number of new job orders in the UK climbed back consistently from April, with a big surge in September, while the US and Canada have steadily grown.  


Perm vs Temp

In terms of permanent placements, Australia and New Zealand have shown steady growth since April. In the US and Canada through August and September, permanent placement growth was at higher levels than the pre-COVID months of 2020.


Interestingly, and counter-intuitively, temporary placements in Australia were slower to bounce back than permanents, although the increase has held steady since June. New Zealand bounced back fast in May with a worrying drop in September, potentially due to the election. 


Temp/Contract in the UK soared in September by 58.1% on August numbers. The Temp/Contract decline in the US and Canada was minimal over March/April and since then has risen consistently.


Recruitment agencies in Australia saw a huge decline in how many recruiters were active in the early months of 2020, with a 1,272% drop from February to March as Covid-19 took hold and potential recruiter job losses or furloughs ensued. This was followed by a gradual bounce back within the next few months.


From February to March, New Zealand dropped 528.6 %; the UK fell 3,533.3 %; and the US and Canada saw a 203.8 % drop.


Days to fill

The findings reveal Australian agencies take the fewest days to fill Temp and Contract job orders while New Zealand is not far behind, with both countries averaging under ten days. This average could be the result of “data entry delay”, which refers to the delay in recruiters completing and filing the relevant admin work. 


The UK also averages under ten days to fill Temp and Contract job orders, while the US and Canada average closer to a 15-day average.


Unsurprisingly, the majority of jobs being filled by Australian agencies right now are Temp and Contract roles, with the findings hovering around 70% of positions filled. New Zealand is even more Temp and Contract biased, sitting at 75 to 80%. 


The UK and the US and Canada have a slightly higher leaning towards permanent roles, sitting at 60% Temp and Contract and 55 to 65% Temp and Contract, respectively.


Mr Herbst says the data shows that companies are adapting to the new realities of a pandemic as they are moving forward with hiring, especially in industries that are not as directly affected by social distancing and lockdown measures. 


“Hiring managers and recruiters must ensure they’re enriching and utilising their data, for example their candidate database, to the fullest and streamlining all workflow processes,” he says. “Now is also the time to review the company’s strategic focus and, where possible, shift target customers and partnerships toward areas of growth versus more exposed areas.”

The 2020 Global Recruitment Report is available to download here.

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