COVID-19 sparked huge slump in number of research jobs

24 February 2022

A new report by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) shows the number of available research jobs plummeted during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The analysis found the number of academic roles advertised each month in Australia dropped from an average of more than 1000 roles in 2019 to just 290 in April 2020. 

Associate Professor Will Grant from ANU said there is some good news, with this drop proving to be relatively short-lived.  

"Job postings rallied to peak at just over 1,400 in October 2021, well above 2019 levels," Associate Professor Grant said. 

Using a new algorithm called PostAc, the researchers were also able to track suitable non-academic jobs for researchers. 

There was a similar drop off in non-academic job advertisements calling for highly skilled researchers in 2020, from an average of 15,200 advertisements a month in 2019 to a low of 6,400 in April 2020. 

By February 2021, the non-academic market had also rebounded to the 2019 average and has continued to grow since.  

According to the researchers, it was a similar story in New Zealand.  

"We saw a low of just 60 advertised academic jobs in New Zealand in May 2020," Associate Professor Grant said. 

"However, by September 2020 advertisements of academic jobs were back at the 2019 average.  

"Outside the higher education sector, the demand for highly skilled researchers in New Zealand also dropped during the peak of the 2020 lockdowns, but quickly recovered."  

More information about the PostAc job search engine, developed by a multi-disciplinary team from ANU, is available at postac.com.au