The Labour Market After the Pandemic

8 July 2021

This MEF will examine both the short-term and enduring impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian labour market.  It will consider lessons for policy makers, covering labour market, macroeconomic and immigration policy.

The future of casual work will be discussed, together with the forces operating on the level of casual employment and the possibility that post-pandemic we will see a decline in its significance.

Scenarios for immigration and labour force growth will be investigated, and their consequences quantified for industries, occupations, and state and national macro-economies.

Professor Jeff Borland, The University of Melbourne

COVID-19 and the Australian labour market: outlook and lessons
This presentation will review briefly main developments in the Australian labour market since the onset of COVID-19 and analyse the short-term outlook.  It will propose several lessons from the episode (so far) for macroeconomic and labour market policy.

Professor Mark Wooden, The University of Melbourne

The future of casual employment
One side effect of the pandemic has been the increased level of scrutiny on Australia’s high levels of casual employment, with many casual workers missing out on the income protection provided by JobKeeper and with casual work even blamed for helping spread the virus. In this presentation, Mark Wooden will briefly discuss the different forces operating on the level of casual employment and the likelihood that post-pandemic we will see a decline in its significance.

Professor Roger Wilkins, The University of Melbourne

Some labour market implications of the decrease in immigration during the pandemic
In 2020-21, net overseas migration was negative for the first time in 75 years, and is projected by Treasury to remain depressed until at least 2023-24. In this presentation I will present some estimates of the medium-term effects of this decline on the size and composition of the labour force. Particular emphasis will be given to likely differences in effects across the states.

Brendan Coates, The Grattan Institute

How should skilled migration change post COVID?
Before COVID, Australia was one of the world’s most open countries for migration. But COVID-19 travel restrictions have brought migration to a standstill. The presentation will unpack how skilled migration should change when the borders eventually reopen.

Janine Dixon, The Centre of Policy Studies, Victoria University

Implications of reduced immigration in the post-Covid workforce
Travel restrictions have had a significant impact on the Australian population and workforce. By mid-2023, the population is forecast to be more than 3 per cent below forecasts made prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The loss of migration has implications for both aggregate demand and for labour supply. Using the VUEF model, we examine the implications from both perspectives, identifying industries and occupations which may face supply pressures. We examine the consequences for businesses and the incumbent workforce.