It was big news last week. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced that the national jobless rate had lifted by a large 0.6 percentage points taking it to a 5-month high of 5.2 per cent in October.

The ABS also reported that the ACT had the biggest jump of 2.5 percentage points, bringing the jobless rate in the capital to 6.6 per cent. It is the highest unemployment rate in the territory since 1998.

Are all these stats making your head spin?

What do these stats mean in practical terms for jobseekers? If you’re in the market for finding work, do the stats translate into stiffer competition? Do they mean you should give up looking until things settle?

Jade Hansen, Senior Account Manager, Business Support at face2face Recruitment, was interviewed recently on ABC666 Radio on the job market and the most recent ABS stats.

What exactly is the unemployment rate?

The unemployment rate equals the number of people currently actively looking for work.

What has caused the spike in the unemployment rate?

Jade says during COVID lockdowns many people weren’t looking for work or new career opportunities. Some bunkered down in their existing job, taking comfort in the security. Some gave up looking, believing there weren’t jobs out there. Others weren’t able to look for work because of new personal demands, like the need to home school.

Now, with restrictions easing, people are feeling more confident about getting out there and searching for a job or new career opportunity. They’re recharged and re-entering the market, causing a spike in the unemployment rate.

Is this a long-term state of affairs?

Economists suggest the unemployment rate will continue to climb as COVID restrictions continue to lift, as the economy improves and as people become more confident about returning to the job market.

Does the spike in the unemployment rate mean I have less chance of finding work?

On the flip side of the unemployment rate rising, recruiters are seeing an increase in the number of roles needing to be filled, in both public and private sectors. Jade says with government that includes a large volume of  permanent (ongoing) and non-ongoing roles. It also includes long-term contracts of 12 months with up to 2-year extensions.

The demand for candidates has therefore not gone away, says Jade. This includes jobs still required to meet the many demands generated by COVID, including task forces. Departments also need additional capacity to cope with the pandemic’s unexpected and changing demands, especially those focusing on health and education. COVID also continues to generate demand for specific skills like communications.

Should I bother looking for work in such a competitive market?

Jade says it’s true there’s more competition in the market but that shouldn’t deter jobseekers from putting themselves out there. face2face has more positions to fill than it does job applicants on it books (register now). If you’re not in the market you don’t have a chance of finding work. If you’re in the market you most certainly do.

How do I get my name out there?

Register with a recruiter

You can’t win a job you don’t know exists, says Jade. Register with a recruitment agency so you’re in the game. Recruiters will look for opportunities and flag appropriate ones to you.

face2face services are FREE to all jobseekers, at all levels, across Australia. Register today.

Sharpen your resume

If your resume doesn’t stand out it will be tougher to land a new position. Jade says your resume needs to be strong and tailored to individual job specifications, so it works as hard as possible for you.

Take time to read other face2face articles on resume writing, including:

Polish and update your LinkedIn profile

Jade says recruiters and employers definitely research prospective talent on LinkedIn. If you’re profile isn’t up-to-date, you could be losing out. Here are tips on updating your profile.

You can have the strongest resume in the world but if you don’t interview well, you may miss out, says Jade. Prepping for interviews takes time, but it’s time well worth investing.

These expert articles offer great ways to become a star interviewee: