Australians who lost work from coronavirus describe job-hunting as 'frustrating', 'disheartening' and 'demoralising'


With the official unemployment rate rising to 7.5 percent in July — with experts placing the real figure at more like 10 percent — applying for jobs right now is tough.

We asked our ABC News Messenger audience about their experiences applying for a job during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some said they were applying for a job in a field of hundreds, although one responder said they were among 1,500 other candidates vying for a position.

Some said they were jumping through 'hoops' to apply for jobs, only to hear nothing back

I've had four job interviews this month, one of which had three steps (phone interview, video submissions, and online interview) … Some employers' recruitment processes are filled with time-wasting "ice breakers" and lots of hoops. You can spend hours answering criteria, and hours in the interview process, and not hear back or get feedback. — Rose T

I have twice submitted video applications and did not hear back either time. I have applied for over 100 jobs since COVID started and still have not found a position. — Jennine G

I use several job-finding channels and have been short-listed a few times, had online interviews, digital interviews, online aptitude tests, vacancies put on hold for the time being but have not managed to secure a new job. As I am a sole parent I really need to find work. We are all in the same storm but many different boats. — Maree F

I have lost my job and have applied for over 500 jobs since March and haven't navigated the experience well. I'm very stuck and desperately trying to find any kind of work to make ends meet. — Sarah C

I've been job-hunting since I found out my contract wasn't being renewed in May but other than the one short-term contract I haven't been offered a single interview. I have over 20 years experience in my profession so it's very demoralising. — Collette H

I was stood down. The first role I applied for [had] 1,500 candidates … Whatever I applied for, I got the response 'please wait until the lockdown is over'. So I decided to hold up my jobs searching. In other words, I give up. — Khanh Q

Some had to look for work in lower positions, or completely different industries

People line up outside a Centrelink office in Melbourne in March 2020
Many respondents said JobKeeper was tying them over for now, but they worried about the future.(ABC News: Margaret Burin)

Getting a government contract/permanent position right now is impossible. I'm an APS4 and haven't needed to job-hunt for four years. Now suddenly I'm back where I started and struggling to find a position amongst [infinite] people hunting for the same job. Every day I apply for a few jobs and get the same amount of rejections. It's enough to break you some days. — Jenna K

There is plenty of jobs if you are prepared to look at jobs that may be below what you are qualified for. I lost my job, [and was] unable to get JobKeeper. Aged care may not be my first choice but is feeding me. — Andrea S

I was a qualified psychologist that during COVID was stood down along with the rest of my team, after which I struggled to find any work, I'm now running two restaurants instead. — Colin W

I am a contract business analyst … I have just started the process of looking for my next contract and it's not looking promising. Hourly rates have been reduced by $20 to $30 just in the limited sample I have seen in the past couple of days. I am relying on my established contacts within recruitment agencies because submitting an application through Seek or similar doesn't even get an acknowledgement. — Mary P

There were a *lot* of struggling scientists and Ph.D. graduates

I'm a scientist. The job market for scientists was already very bad. I have been to several interviews and been second in line and interviewers have spoken about 200+ applicants. — Casey P

My palaeontology lab closed early into the pandemic, since the rocks are millions of years old they can wait another one. Tried applying to geology jobs but even if I get an interview people don't really want a Victorian right now. — Lachlan S

I graduated with a PhD in May of this year. I was living in the US and found myself unemployed, so I moved back to Australia. I've since applied for countless jobs varying from research (which is what my PhD was for) to admin positions, with no success. I've been unemployed three months now and I’m not sure what the future will bring. — Laura S

I'm finishing a PhD at the moment and, naturally, the next step is employment. Based on what I observed last year when looking for jobs on LinkedIn though, the total number of job listings are about 30 per cent smaller now compared to then. The academic market was already difficult, with three PhD graduates in this country for every academic position, and there's been consistent news lately of casual jobs being hammered at Unis. Oftentimes, Australian Science PhD graduates leave Australia to do a postdoc but that market is closed now as well. — Michael J

We heard of country jobs being flooded with city applicants

I had to quit my job for health reasons about two months ago. I've been applying for jobs since then, but only got two interviews. Each had dozens of applicants, many of whom were, in the interviewers' eyes, overqualified for the positions. I live in a small country town about three hours from Melbourne, and there are people from Melbourne interviewing to work here. — Ellie C

We heard about side hustles

I have had hours reduced due to being stood down on to JobKeeper. Preparing for the cut in payment for casuals working less than 20 hours a week, I have been applying for jobs in all fields. I managed to secure a casual role at Woolworths and am hoping my side hustle covers the difference. — Chrissy G

I lost my job in advertising and have been applying for jobs every morning since, along with hundreds in the industry. To keep sane and earn pocket money, I've started delivering for Uber Eats on my bicycle as well — Matt C

And we heard from a sex worker who doesn't know how she'll explain the five-year gap in her resume

I've worked as a full-service sex worker in mainly brothels in Melbourne city for five years as my only income. When the pandemic happened, I'd already taken two months off work due to an (unrelated to work) injury. My Grandma also died within the first weeks of the pandemic. I had to stop work immediately. I decided to start studying at Tafe a while ago because all the days were blurring into one. The work experience I had before the pandemic could maybe have helped me find a new job but how can I explain a five-year gap in my resume? I have no idea how I'll explain it to employers in the future. I have learned so many useful skills from my job but I don't think I'll ever be able to use those experiences as a way to get my foot in the door of a new job. I have no idea what the future holds for me but I hope my reskilling can help me figure out something new. — Caitlin S

But amongst the fear and uncertainty, there were also some positive outcomes

I lost my job due to COVID. Applied for so so many jobs … I did interviews online … I was going to do a YouTube marketing promo on me! Then went back to school to study my diploma at 39, mentioned to a teacher I needed a job by September, and a classmate offered to interview me. Now I have a job with little to no experience in the industry I'm working in!! But I love it and am pretty great at it — Jodie L

I never found a job because COVID started and all my interviews were put on hold. And I also lost my two casual jobs and was jobless for three months until June. I ended up applying to hundreds of jobs and never heard anything. Did receive a few rejected emails. I found a job in July and working now. — Sumi R

I finished a contract in Japan and came back to Australia for a month before I was due to start another contract … Then COVID hit. Not knowing whether I'd be able to go back to my company after a few months or a few years, I spent the time from March until July in limbo, applying for jobs but also monitoring the borders situation closely. In late July, I was finally offered a job in Australia, with a company I'd applied for back in April. It had taken many long months and a whole host of applications that I never heard back on to find a job. I now don't think I'll get the chance to work overseas again for a while — and I regret that I couldn't continue my adventures working with that Japanese company — but for now, I'm just thankful to be employed! — Erin M

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post