Suburbs most impacted by COVID-19 employment vulnerability

Monash University

New research from Monash University reveals the Australian suburbs hardest hit by COVID-19 employment vulnerability in the nation’s capital cities and finds the most vulnerable areas contain large shares of service employment and lack a diverse employment base..

Key findings

  • COVID-19 restrictions have impacted service workers most severely, particularly those who live in the high cost, jobs-rich inner suburbs.
  • The most vulnerable employment communities are concentrated in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. About 30% of vulnerable workers living in the inner suburbs work in arts, entertainment, and education industries.
  • The most vulnerable employment areas include shopping districts (Chadstone and Highpoint Shopping Centres in Melbourne); university districts, and cultural and recreation areas Paddington-Moore Park (Fox Studios, Entertainment Quarter, Paddington Markets) in Sydney and Hillarys (Westfield, AQWA Aquarium) in Perth are among the most at risk.
  • Researchers anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 employment vulnerability to hit in September 2020, when the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program expires.

Monash University has today released the report titled “Navigating Economic Uncertainty in Post-Covid Cities: Employment Vulnerability and Resilience in Australian Capital Cities” , co-authored by Professor Carl Grodach and Declan Martin with Alexa Gower, Associate Professor Liton Kamruzzaman, Deepti Silwal, and Dalex Truong from Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.

Locations most heavily impacted by COVID-19 employment vulnerability

The report identified key locations in Australia’s capital cities where employment was most heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Nationally, locations heavily impacted by COVID-19 employment vulnerability include Chadstone in Melbourne, Paddington (Fox Studios, Entertainment Quarter, Paddington Markets) in Sydney and Southbank (National Gallery of Victoria, Centre for Contemporary Art) in Melbourne.

Airport precincts were also identified as vulnerable employment areas including Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney airports which contain sizeable proportions of accommodation, food services, and retail alongside air travel.

The research also identified at-risk areas close to higher education institutions with significant consumer and/or non-essential medical services nearby including St. Lucia (University of Queensland), Kensington (UNSW), and Carlton (University of Melbourne). While Clayton is home to Australia’s largest university (Monash University, Melbourne), the area’s more diversified industrial employment base softens the employment impact.

Second wave of employment vulnerability expected in September 2020

The research found a first wave of COVID-19 employment vulnerability due to social distancing and travel restrictions, predominantly impacting consumer, travel, and community services including accommodation, food services, transportation, arts, recreation, entertainment, non-essential healthcare services, and education.

Researchers anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 employment vulnerability to hit in September 2020, when the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program expires. The second wave of COVID-19 employment vulnerability is expected, for businesses reporting uptake of the Federal

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