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A Look at the South Australian Job Market in the Wake of COVID-19

South Australia’s job market was already a challenging one before the Coronavirus crisis began. Key sectors of the economy including manufacturing and mining were already declining, and jobs from those industries were drying up. COVID-19 has created additional disruptions in the state’s economy.

Despite these troubling trends, South Australia has thus far managed to keep unemployment numbers lower than the 8.1 percent that some experts were forecasting would happen by year’s end -- and significantly lower than the whopping 10.8 percent they expected to see by 2021. So far, the peak for unemployment was 7.5 percent in September, according to Although the outlook is much better than previously expected, South Australia’s unemployment numbers are still uncomfortably high, with the current estimated rate hovering at about 7 percent.

Before the virus became an issue, South Australia’s most promising industries were healthcare, agriculture, construction and education. As the Coronavirus crisis drags on, some sectors of these industries will no doubt have to navigate unprecedented challenges; but these industries are still likely to hold some of the best job opportunities for South Australian young people and career changers.

Careers That Seem Most Viable for South Australians in the Wake of COVID-19


The healthcare industry tends to weather economic downturns well. A broad variety of jobs within this industry are likely to remain viable despite the challenging economic environment. Some of the best prospects are as follows:

Health Practice Manager – It is essential for health practices to have effective leadership in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Employment prospects for health practice managers were already favourable before the Coronavirus crisis began, and the crisis hasn’t lessened the need for strong management.

However, there are many willing candidates for these jobs, and there is strong competition for them. To get hired, you’ll need to demonstrate a solid history of related healthcare industry work experience, along with the right formal qualifications.

Many health practice managers hold both a bachelor’s degree and a relevant advanced degree such as a Master of Health Services Management. This is not the only viable pathway, as it is also possible to acquire a Diploma of Practice Management by completing a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course.

Mental Health Nurse – There was already an urgent need for more qualified mental health nurses in Australia before the Coronavirus situation made things worse. The crisis, having taken its toll on Australians’ mental health, has heightened the demand for nurses who have decided to pursue this specialisation.

To become a mental health nurse, you must first become a registered nurse. A university bachelor’s degree is the minimum acceptable academic requirement for getting hired. Then you can begin acquiring specialist experience in the field of mental health nursing. It’s also helpful to complete postgraduate studies.

Building and Construction

The building and construction industries will probably not be immune from the after-effects of COVID-19, and there is likely to be a sizable decrease in demand for new private building projects. However, in the immediate future, more than $1 billion worth of public construction projects will translate to job opportunities for tradies within the state. The planned infrastructure projects include many that focus on road construction. Some of the best opportunities are likely to be as follows:

Civil Engineer – Civil engineers are the overseers of plans and designs for public construction projects such as bridges, sewerage systems, airports and similar infrastructure.

To become a civil engineer, you’ll typically need to obtain a uni degree in civil engineering. It’s also beneficial to complete a postgraduate course.

Construction Estimator -- Construction estimators are the professionals responsible for preparing and delivering cost plans for infrastructure projects. This tends to be a particularly important position when public money is involved.

To become a construction estimator, one of the most common pathways is to study a VET course in building and construction estimating. It’s also possible to work as an estimator if you hold a formal qualification in construction management.

Paving and Surfacing Labourer -- These workers are the ones who operate paving machinery and lay down the asphalt to create new roads or repair existing ones.

It is possible to obtain work as a paving and surfacing labourer without any formal qualifications. However, education is both available and useful if you wish to acquire it. Many labourers hold a certificate II in bituminous surfacing or stoneworking or a certificate III in civil construction.

Construction Manager – The sizable planned infrastructure projects will require effective oversight from creative and visionary construction managers.

To get hired as a construction manager, you’ll want to obtain a certificate III or IV in construction management or building. To successfully compete with other candidates for these jobs, you’ll probably also need to demonstrate a significant amount of relevant previous construction industry work experience.


Agriculture is one of South Australia’s key industries. It provides much of the food for the region as well as animal feed, grapes for wine and other necessities.

Beyond farming, you’ll find a broad range of interesting job opportunities in South Australia’s agriculture sector. A few possibilities include operations manager, agricultural engineer and animal nutritionist.

Industries That Might Make a Comeback Post COVID-19

Real Estate Sales

It is uncertain what will happen with the property markets in South Australia. Initially, property listings plummeted by about 10 percent as a direct result of COVD-19, and home prices in some areas had endured some modest declines. Experts expected to see a recovery, but their forecasts had been based on expectations of no new lockdowns; these predictions are now irrelevant since new lockdowns have been announced.

Property prices have recently been rising in South Australia. However, it is uncertain whether they will continue to do so, considering that the holiday period for mortgage loan repayments is nearing conclusion. Experts believe it is possible that there might be a future uptick in mortgage delinquencies, which could result in more properties being offered for sale and a possible drop in prices.

However, interest rates are now at a record low, and some banks have announced interest rate cuts for new home loan customers. The rate cuts could help to entice new property sales.

As long as properties continue to change hands, competent real estate sales agents will likely enjoy income earning opportunities.


It’s uncertain whether manufacturing in South Australia could make a comeback.

There are excellent arguments in favour of rebuilding the country’s manufacturing base. In the wake of COVID-19, people have come to the realisation that Australians need to become more self-sufficient. In particular, the virus crisis revealed that the country has a particular vulnerability to shortages of crucial medicines and medical supplies when imports become unavailable.

However, it remains to be seen whether any entrepreneurs will want to take the risks necessary to step up and actually do the work of rebuilding when the country’s manufacturing base has been in a marked state of decline. As things stand currently, manufacturing is not the ideal industry in which to try to launch a new career.

Despite the negative consequences resulting from COVID-19, there will continue to be career opportunities for talented workers who are persistent in seeking them out. The national jobs hub has a current list of job openings in Australia and is an excellent resource for South Australians who are in need of a job.

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