Huge fall in service sector jobs indicates more females seeking career change



a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer: SEEK data shows jobs in the consumer services sector are at 51.8 percent of pre-COVID levels.


© Getty.
SEEK data shows jobs in the consumer services sector are at 51.8 percent of pre-COVID levels.



a person sitting at a table using a laptop computer


© Provided by Newshub


A growing number of Kiwi job-seekers are considering a different career path in the wake of COVID-19.  

Research by online employment website SEEK of  4000 job-seekers in July showed one in three were rethinking their career as a result of COVID-19. Of those whose jobs were directly impacted, just under half (45 percent) wanted to move to an industry less impacted by the pandemic.

The data shows jobs in the consumer services sector have fallen the most, now at just over half of pre-COVID-19 levels. SEEK data from 2019 showed jobs in this sector attracted a higher number of female applicants than male.

“Prior to the latest restrictions, consumer services roles were at 58 percent when compared with pre-COVID levels, and now they’re down 6.2 percent to 51.8 percent, SEEK general manager Janet Faulding said.

The sector includes jobs in administration/office support, advertising/media, call centre/customer service, hospitality/tourism, retail, real estate/property, and sales. Aside from sales jobs, over half of the 2019 applications made via SEEK for jobs advertised in the sector were from women.  For administration and support roles, women made up almost three-quarters (68 percent) of all applicants.  



a screenshot of a cell phone


© Provided by Newshub




a screenshot of a cell phone


© Provided by Newshub


The survey also showed job-seekers placed greater importance on job security, with 60 percent willing to take a lower paid job in return. With the number of job-seekers expected to rise as wage subsidies end, over half (56 percent) thought they needed to do more to stand out from the crowd. 

As positive news for job-seekers looking in a different sector, almost three-quarters (71 percent) of employers surveyed said they would hire someone with limited experience who was extremely passionate.

But the first step is to get an interview.

Bob Walker, a career coach at Recruitment Matters, urged job-seekers, including those wanting to change industries, to get the basics right.  

“Put together a short, tailored covering note to show you’ve read the ad, you understand what they’re trying to do and relate back (topline) why you’re relevant,” Walker said.

The letter should include two-to-three core skills and strengths and how they relate to the role. Job-seekers should also check the responsibilities and achievements listed in their CV match what they say in their covering letter, and on their LinkedIn profile. 

“If you’re looking to move sector-to-sector, make sure your covering note and CV very quickly evidence your core skills and how they relate back to the role,” Walker added.

“Depending on seniority level, a CV should be between two and four pages.”

Walker also reminds applicants to do a proof-read and spell-check – a final step that if missed, may result in qualified people being overlooked.

Madison recruitment general manager Christian Brown, said although previous industry experience is an advantage, genuine passion and energy are equally as important.

“If you don’t have the specific industry work experience, use examples from your personal life to demonstrate your passion: it might be courses you’ve taken, seminars/webinars you’ve attended, or listening to relevant podcasts,” Brown added.

July employment data from Infometrics showed job losses were highest for young people and women. Jobs held by the under-30 age group fell by 2.2 percent per annum. Women under 30 were the hardest hit, at 2.5 percent per annum, compared to men at 2 percent.

Economist Brad Olsen said the data highlighted the need for government-funded training and other support to increase job prospects for these groups affected by the pandemic.

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