Research

Over two-thirds (68%) of working Australians have had their employment impacted by the ‘Coronavirus Crisis’

New research from Roy Morgan into the impact of the ‘Coronavirus Crisis’ on Australia’s employment market shows over two-thirds of working Australians (68%) have had ‘a change to their employment’ due to the pandemic according to interviews with 1,444 Australians aged 14+ conducted over the last week.

Australians in the workforce were asked: “As a result of the Coronavirus Crisis, have you experienced any of the following employment changes.” Some people reported several changes to their working conditions since the Coronavirus like being stood down, having reduced hours and working from home. This reflects the changing nature of the situation for companies and employees as they navigate the crisis.

The impacts on workers include:

  • 3.8 million who say their ‘work hours have been reduced’ (25% of working Australians);
  • 2.7 million who say they have been ‘stood down for a period of time’ (18%);
  • 2.5 million who say they have ‘had an increase in their work hours’ (16%);
  • 2.4 million who say they have ‘not had any work offered’ (16%);
  • 1.6 million who say they are now ‘working from home’ (10%);
  • 1.4 million who say they have ‘had their pay reduced for the same number of work hours’ (9%);
  • 670,000 who say they have been ‘made redundant’ (4%); and
  • 1.8 million (11%) who cite ‘some other change to their employment’ such as being put on enforced leave, changes in work rostering, social distancing measures at work, split shifts, an increase in responsibility, a halt to business growth, precautions put in place at work, being in a vulnerable group for COVID-19 so not being able to take work and an inability to see clients face-to-face.

Analysing the impact on employment due to the ‘Coronavirus Crisis’ by size of organisation shows smaller businesses, including sole traders, have been the most heavily impacted by the Coronavirus Crisis – three-quarters of sole traders have been impacted.

For those working in organisations with 1,000 employees or more a bare majority of 54% have had their employment impacted in some way by the Coronavirus Crisis (46% have not).

Industries which have felt the least impact from the Coronavirus Crisis include Agriculture, Wholesale trade, Transport & Storage, Construction, Electricity, Gas & Water and Public Administration & Defence.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the Australian economy and employment market over the last month. Roy Morgan’s March unemployment estimates showed 1.4 million Australians were forced out of work in the latter half of March in response to Government restrictions:

“A staggering 10.5 million Australian workers have had their employment situation changed by the impact of the Coronavirus Crisis including 3.8 million with work hours reduced, 2.7 million stood down, 2.4 million who have not had any work offered, 1.4 million had their pay reduced for the same number of work hours and 670,000 made redundant.

“Some of the impacts aren’t as negative for an employment situation as those above with 2.5 million Australians having an increase in work hours and 1.6 million now working from home because of the Coronavirus.

“The impact has hit sole traders particularly hard. Three-quarters of sole traders have had their employment impacted due to the Coronavirus Crisis. In comparison only about half (54%) of those working at large organisations with over 1,000 employees have had their employment situation impacted.

“The disparate impact the Coronavirus is having on different types of organisations underlines why it is so important that Government stimulus to support those in need is properly targeted and calibrated to derive the most benefit. It also shows Governments must clearly outline a plan to emerge from the pandemic and transition the private sector back to a sustainable, and profitable, ‘new normal’ in the months ahead.”

As a result of the Coronavirus crisis, has your employment status been impacted? Ranked by most important choice nominated.

 

Source: Roy Morgan multi-mode survey of Australians conducted on the weekend of April 17-19, 2020, n=912. Base: Working Australians aged 14+. Respondents could nominate multiple employment changes.

Note: Some people reported several changes to their working conditions since the Coronavirus like being stood down, and having reduced hours and working from home. This reflects the changing nature of the situation for companies and employees as they navigate the crisis. For the analysis in the graph above, people have been coded as the most important choice.

As a result of the Coronavirus crisis, has your employment status been impacted? By size of organisation.

Source: Roy Morgan multi-mode survey of Australians conducted on the weekend of April 17-19, 2020, n=912. Base: Working Australians aged 14+. Respondents could nominate multiple employment changes.