If you’ve been left out of work due to COVID-19, you’re not alone

With the Australian workforce experiencing its biggest change since The Great Depression, more than 700,000 Australians have joined long, winding queues outside Centrelink offices in the midst of one of the world’s largest health pandemics.

But Chris Hardy, General Manager of Contracted Employment Services at Maxima, says there are still a number of opportunities for job seekers looking to broaden their horizons.

“While many industries, like hospitality, tourism and the arts, have been hit hard by restrictions and regulations, many others, such as  healthcare, food retailing, and mining industries, are hiring” he said.

So, get ready to update your CV and polish your shoes, while you explore the top seven industries hiring now, and into the future. 

Food retailing and delivery

Unless you were living under a rock (or a mountain of toilet paper), you would have noticed that supermarket shelves were stripped of basics for a number of months, both prior and during lockdown, as Australians panic-bought like never before.

In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in March 2020 Australia experienced the biggest ever monthly rise in retail sales.

As a result, food retail workers emerged as a new category of essential service providers during the early days of the pandemic, with supermarkets in Australia hiring thousands of new staff to meet the spike in the demand for groceries.

At the height of the lockdown, Woolworths and Coles set out to hire 25,000 new staff across the country. But it’s not just food retail workers who were in demand, said APAC economist Callum Pickering.

“We’re seeing strong demand for drivers including delivery and truck drivers, as well as rising demand for warehouse workers and packers, and a lot of that relates to some of the frenzied retail activity we’ve seen in recent weeks,” he recently told SBS.  

While panic-buying has fortunately subsided for now, and many Australians are back to bracing supermarkets in-person rather than ordering online, there’s no denying that this frontline service is essential to the health and economic prosperity of our nation – which means there will be no shortage of jobs in this area for quite some time.

Food product manufacturing and wholesaling

The impact of panic buying on many Australian food manufacturing companies has meant they’ve had to ramp-up production levels to meet unprecedented demand.

For SA-based Virginia Farm Produce, who grow and pack potatoes and onions at their farm north of Adelaide, sales increased by up to 30 per cent in March and April, as more people cooked from home.

Many food producers, growers and famers also reply heavily on backpacker labour, and with many seasonal workers returning to their home countries and not coming back for some time, producers are now hiring locally.

As such, Fruit picking jobs and harvest jobs are in supply, thanks to a lack of backpackers and seasonal travelling workers.


Regardless of whether a society finds itself in the midst of a health pandemic or economic downturn, healthcare is, and always will be, considered an essential service.

It is inevitable that people (and animals) become sick and need access to qualified professionals who can help.

In response to COVID-19, many Australian hospitals are currently advertising expressions of interest to develop a pool of applicants that will provide essential support at short notice across the health system.

COVID-19, coupled with Australia’s ageing population and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, means there has been a significant increase in demand for personal care workers, too.

“Our projections to 2023 suggest that employment for personal care workers will increase by 80,600, or nearly 30 per cent over that five year period,” said the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s labour market analyst, Ivan Neville.

“Aged and disabled carers are projected to increase by 69,200 jobs while nursing support and personal care workers are projected to increase by 11,400 over the period. This compares with the department’s projected growth of 7.1 per cent for all occupations.”

Information Technology

As Australian’s have transitioned to working from home, seeing each other in-person less, and making ‘telehealth’ appointments, demand has grown for IT services.

According to Seek, as reported in IT News, developers, programmers, software engineers, business and systems analysts and project managers are in high-demand.

In fact, thanks to the number of businesses with staff working from home and a transition to online trading, software and IT jobs have experienced the biggest recruitment surge – growing by 17.3 per cent, outpacing healthcare at 12.6 per cent.

“As businesses pivot to virtual and online delivery of goods and services, and many employees work from home, there is increased demand for cyber security specialists, and technology and product specialists to support these transitions,” said SEEK Australia and New Zealand managing director Kendra Banks.

“Businesses are now starting to invest more in the likes of cyber security, and digital software, and technology specialists,” she added.

Transport, postal and warehousing

Jobs in the transport, postal and warehousing sector are ramping up throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

Truck drivers with the critical task of moving essential goods across the country were listed among the ‘Top 10 jobs critical during the Coronavirus’, as reported in The Australian, while roles across warehouse and distribution, such as shelf stackers, delivery drivers, supply chain managers and warehousing supervisors have been named as essential retail services.

With Australian’s spending more time at home, online shopping has become an outlet for many. Nearly two million parcels have been delivered each day since Easter – 90 per cent more than the same time last year. To manage the increased demand for deliveries, Australia Post will hire an additional 600 casual workers, while posties will swap pedal power for petrol, jumping behind the wheels of delivery vans.

Call Centres

If you’ve got experience working in a call centre or retail in a large-scale organisation, consider yourself a problem solver, and can learn and use new systems quickly, picking up a job in a call centre during the COVID-19 pandemic might be a good fit for you.

Due to lockdowns in India and the Philippines, Telstra and Optus are quickly recruiting Australian based call centre staff, creating 1,500 new jobs.

Aside from major service providers, many companies are now requiring technical support via phone too, with help setting up and pairing devices or troubleshooting errors.


Many large resources companies are mining for talent during the Coronavirus.

In particular, they’re hiring diesel fitters, auto electricians, truck drivers, machine operators and support services like catering, cleaning and maintenance, to keep mine sites safe for workers.

The number of mining, resources and energy jobs advertised with Seek is higher than this time last year, with companies including BHP now hiring 1,500 people at its mining operations.

Luckily, the surge in mining jobs doesn’t look like it’ll be disappearing anytime soon, with economists at the University of Technology predicting the mining industry would continue to offer jobs because of Australia’s strong trading relationship with China.

Post-COVID-19 boom industries

The speed and strength of economic recovery in Australia – and a decline in the unemployment rate – is likely to depend on the availability of a vaccine and the effectiveness of federal economic policy.

“While there are so many unknowns right now, the one thing job seekers can do is use this time to upskill and re-train for a post-COVID world,” Maxima’s Chris Hardy said.

“Companies will need to be even more agile and market-oriented than ever before to succeed in the times that will follow Covid-19. Accordingly – the staff they hire will need a new set of skills, and a fresh approach as well.  Qualities such as adaptability, creativity, leadership, emotional intelligence and tech-literacy will be highly sought-after.  

“Maxima can help with apprenticeships, training and reskilling for a number of important roles in industries that will be much needed on the other side of this pandemic.”

Or, if you’re thinking about changing career, to a future-proof industry, now is an excellent time to retrain and upskill, according to University of Technology economists, Emil Temnyalov and Peter Siminski.

“From a human capital perspective, the crisis presents a unique economic opportunity to re-train and up-skill Australia’s labour force,” they say.

“Economists have long observed that investment in human capital (education, skills) tends to increase during recessions, because there aren’t as many well-paying alternatives.

“Our labour market was already facing the prospect of significant transformation as a result of automation and of trade liberalisation.

“COVID-19 will exacerbate and accelerate these sorts of challenges.”

During this difficult time Maxima is here to assist wherever we can. If you’d like support finding work, training or navigating the Centrelink system, please call us on 1300 629 462 or visit https://maxima.com.au/ today.