How is Defence Industry Feeling about COVID-19?

By Emily Small on 27 May 2020

Defence Sentiment Survey Results

As a part of our annual Salary Survey we asked respondents how the COVID-19 crisis has affected them. We had over 800 responses, which we have summarised below, with a couple of notable observations.  


Job Security 

Figure 1 depicts the respondent’s perception of job security due to COVID 19. Overall, 70% of the workforce indicated they felt no change in their job security, with 21% reporting their job now felt less secure. 

Figure 2 depicts a breakdown of the same question by job field. People working in an ICT role reported feeling the most insecure about their job.

Further Observations

  • The less time spent in the Defence Industry, the more insecure about their job role. 36% of respondents with less than three years of experience in Defence Industry.
  • 41% of people working as a contractor in an ICT role reported feeling less secure about their job as a result of COVID-19. 
  • People living in South Australia were the least worried about a negative effect on their job security, with only 13% reporting they felt their jobs were less secure.

Working Arrangements

Changes in working arrangements for the respondents is shown in Figure 3. These results were consistent across individual states. 
Further Observations
  • The category ‘Other’ included responses such as redundancy, stood down without pay, retired, reduction in salary and cancelled projects. 
  • 11% of the people working in the ICT or Cyber sector of Defence reported Other, with their answer involving being made redundant or stood down. They were all based in Victoria or ACT.

Volatility of the Job Market

The respondents were also asked, “Do you think the effects of COVID-19 makes it more or less risky to start a new job within the next six months?”. Respondents had to scale a number between 1-100, with 50 being ‘neutral’, and below and above that a relative level of risk change. 
76% of the respondents reported the sentiment of starting a new job as somewhat or a great deal riskier than before COVID19. 
Further Observations
  • 18% of respondents who work in an ICT role reported that they thought it was less risky to look for a new job in the next 6 months.
  • 80% of respondents with less than 5 years of experience in Defence Industry reported that they thought it was more risky. 

Hiring Again

Finally, we asked respondents “If you were to look for work at this time, how could a prospective future employer make you feel secure taking on a new role?”. Respondents had to select the top three factors that would contribute to a feeling of security.
Assurance of stable and ongoing work was the most important way someone could feel assured to take on work with a new employer, with 78% of all respondents ranking it in their top 3. 
Further Observations
  • The option of ‘Other’ allowed people to specify a response. Some responses asked for higher remuneration packages, contracts for a minimum length of time, employer-provided home office equipment like ergonomic chairs and stand-up desks, moral leadership, long notice periods, written contract guarantees of work and permanent work over contracting. One respondent remarked that they would judge a company based on the actions they have taken to protect their employees during COVID19.
Read more about what else we’re seeing and hearing from our partners in Defence Industry here
Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

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