COVID-19 lockdown: Business sale enquiries rise despite uncertainty

SEEK Business reported an increase in enquiries to purchase a business during the pandemic. Picture: Shutterstock
SEEK Business reported an increase in enquiries to purchase a business during the pandemic. Picture: Shutterstock

Despite Australia's rising unemployment as a result of COVID-19, a significant number of Aussies looked at buying their own business amidst the pandemic uncertainty.

The business-for-sale online marketplace, SEEK Business, reported May as its 'highest month ever' of traffic for 'enquiries to buy businesses'. Figures showed a 50 percent increase in enquiries and a 29 percent increase in site visits, the highest the platform has ever seen. Research into business ownership indicated 41 percent of the population has considered buying a business, and with rising unemployment, candidates were looking at alternative income options.

There was also a rise in employment ads online showing businesses are still hiring. SEEK reported employment ads were steadily on the rise, with an increase of more than 60 percent volume in job ads since April. The data gives some confidence that job ad volumes are in the early stages of recovery.

Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ, said that "historically, job ad volumes tend to ease off towards the end of the financial year, but are followed by a quick boost in July and August when hirers have reset their budgets".

"With the continued easing of restrictions, the economic measures put in place by the government and the new financial year we hope to see this translate into more jobs advertised in July," Ms Banks said.

SEEK employment data shows a direct correlation between restrictions easing and job ad volume growth with all states showing an increase in job ad activity. Sectors contributing the highest month-on-month job ad growth included Hospitality and Tourism (138%), Trades and Services (36%) and Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics (33%). With all states and territories showing growth up to the beginning of June when the data was captured.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrision has raised concerns that some unemployed my not be actively seeking work while the JobSeeker payment is supplemented to double what it would be outside of the pendamic.

"We can't allow the JobSeeker payment to become an impediment to people [getting] out and going doing work, getting extra shifts," Mr Morrison said in an interview with 2GB radio host with Ray Hadley.

"And we are getting a lot of anecdotal feedback from small businesses, even large businesses, where some of them are finding it hard to get people to come and take the shifts because they're on these higher levels of payment."

In a survey carried out by SEEK, Australians shared their feelings towards work and career in 2020 so far. When asked to answer the question "Generally, how does your working life make you feel?" - evidence showed an over all increase in optimism around the current times.

The survey, released in June, showed an increase in those feeling 'confident', 'energised' and 'inspired'. On the flipside, while 'uncertainty' is falling, 'boredom' has risen slightly, a potential reflection of the challenges navigating lock-down conditions.

Job seeker sentiment throughout 2020, answers to the question Generally, how does your working life make you feel? from a SEEK.com.au survey

Job seeker sentiment throughout 2020, answers to the question Generally, how does your working life make you feel? from a SEEK.com.au survey

"We are encouraged to see industries which were hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic rebounding at a good pace. Hospitality and Tourism is up 138% month-on-month," Kendra Banks, Managing Director, SEEK ANZ commented.

"Trades and Services also made a strong contribution to job ad volumes, up 36 per cent month-on-month in May. After being closed for several months, nail salons, hairdressers and other personal maintenance services are expected to see an increase in consumer demand, which could be why the top jobs for Trades and Services included hair and beauty services."

"Of all of the sectors, Professional Services has been slower to bounce back, which could be a result of a range of factors including reduced activity and people continuing to work from home. This was reflected in job ad volumes, where we saw key sectors such as Information, Communication and Technology increase only marginally, by 1 per cent, while Insurance and Superannuation was down by 2 per cent month-on-month in May 2020," Ms Banks said.

Job ad volumes in each state

  • South Australia up by 52.4%
  • Tasmania up by 51.3%
  • Queensland up by 48.4%
  • Victoria up by 48.1% (based on date previous to the recent outbreak)
  • Western Australia up by 39.1%
  • Northern Territory up by 38.9%
  • New South Wales up by 31.1%
  • Australian Capital Territory up by 21.0%
May 2020 vs April job ad volumes in each state based on figures from SEEK.com.au

May 2020 vs April job ad volumes in each state based on figures from SEEK.com.au

This story Business sale inquiries rise despite lockdown uncertainty first appeared on The Advocate.