Best new jobs and courses to study during lockdown
Out-of-work Aussies are being urged to focus on retraining during COVID-19 downtime to keep their careers on track, as jobs become increasingly hard to come by.
New Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed available jobs were down 30.8 per cent in March compared to the previous year.
The seasonally-adjusted data also showed a 22.3 per cent drop compared to February - the largest monthly decline in job ads recorded, surpassing the 10.5 per cent drop in January, 2009 during the GFC.
Despite this, there were still 122,700 jobs being advertised, led by IT professionals (8800), general inquiry clerks, call centre workers and receptionists (8300), and business, finance and human resource professionals (6600).
LinkedIn Asia Pacific senior director Jason Laufer said Australians were increasingly relying on online learning to develop and expand their skills to ensure ongoing career opportunities.
In a recent survey, 47 per cent of active jobseekers on the networking site said they planned to do online learning over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Skillsoft experienced a 43 per cent jump in users of its online education platform Percipio between February and March in the Asia Pacific region.
The top searches were for courses on business continuity, contributing as a virtual team member and COVID-19.
Career coaching company TwoPointZero chief executive Steve Shepherd said upskilling helped people to become more employable in case they did not have a job to come back to once Australia reached its "new normal".
"The company might have said they will have (all their staff) back but the reality is they might not have the business volume for it," he said.
"If they do something now it might make them more employable across a broader sector if they have some broader skills."
He said using time in isolation to upskill was also good for mental wellbeing.
"If you are at home with not much to occupy yourself except your Netflix, having something to immerse yourself in and distract you from everything else going on has to be positive for mental health," he said.
Mr Shepherd recommended courses that focused on "evergreen skills" that were in demand in every sector, such as communication, negotiation, leadership and people skills.
"Whether you are a real estate agent or a supervisor in a warehouse, we know that social interaction is an important component," he said.
"You don't necessarily need to be paying for those courses either, you can find online content or things like LinkedIn Learning."
He said reading books and professional journals or reaching out to networks to establish mentoring relationships were also good options.
TOP COURSES FOR RETRAINING DURING ISOLATION
Sarina Russo Job Access chief executive for employment Dianne Fletcher said people could upskill for this specialty - covering areas such as risk management and scenario planning - with short courses or by completing a unit or two of a business diploma or degree.
"There is nothing to say you can't do a unit within a tertiary qualification, and more employers are looking at people not necessarily having a qualification but expertise in an area," she said.
"Companies (need) people with those skills to work out scenarios and possible actions and how to deploy quickly.
"It's a skill that will probably be more in demand going forward than in the past."
Ms Fletcher said courses that set people up for trade apprenticeships could be done online in three to six months.
"Pre-apprenticeship courses will give you a headstart and make you very attractive to an employer coming out the other end of this particular crisis because you will have mastered some of the basics the employer normally has to invest time and effort training people on," she said.
"We are still signing up new apprentices for employers so there is still demand there and it's across all the trades."
AGED AND COMMUNITY CARE
She said aged and community care workers were in demand before COVID-19 and would be in demand again once it had passed.
"People can do traineeships but there are a whole range of other ways to enter that field," she said.
"You can be any age and have a great career and future in that space."
TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS
Ms Fletcher said a Certificate III in Logistics was a good way into this sector, which offered "quite significant" salaries.
"We are a consumer society and goods have to get moved around the world somehow," she said.
"There is quite a bit of technology in it and planning and understanding legal requirements."
She said unemployed Australians had access to free government-funded programs such as the Exploring Being Your Own Boss taster course and New Enterprise Incentive Scheme.
"Don't think starting a business in the middle of COVID-19 is crazy," she said.
"There are lots of entrepreneurs who took their chance because circumstances were such that they needed to make a change."
Originally published as Best new jobs and courses to study during lockdown