Coronavirus update for business: Tools for tech talent, sex toy sales soar, and even Google is suffering

Sundar Pichai

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. Source: Nguyen Hung Vu.

Unemployment on the up and up

The statisticians at the Australian Bureau of Statistics have released labour force data for March, identifying a negligible impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the headline trend estimate of the unemployment rate edging up slightly to 5.2%.

The ABS conducted its March labour force survey from March 1 to 14, which means the data set missed much of the shutdown-induced pain that led thousands to queue outside Centrelink offices last month.

That means we’ll have to wait for April data to get a better picture of labour market trends and the coronavirus.

Tech talent

FinTech Australia has launched a new Talent Market, in a bid to help tech employees who have lost their jobs pick up new roles at fintechs that are still growing and still hiring.

Run through a private LinkedIn group, the community promises to also offer job hunting tips and connections with hiring managers and startup founders.

Available tech talent, and employers on the lookout, can request to join the group here.

Easter tech hunt

The Easter long weekend saw some 2,400 techies compete in the Australian Computer Society’s Flatten the Curve hackathon, seeking to solve some of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winners and runners up were chosen across five categories, with winners including a ‘classparty’ platform helping kids socialise while at school in isolation; devices to help predict the deterioration of coronavirus patients in remote settings and alert nurses; and an advanced 3D-printed face shield product, making PPE products more comfortable and accessible.

Even Silicon Valley is suffering

In the US, even Google is reportedly feeling the effects of COVID-19, announcing it is slowing down hiring in almost all areas of the business for the rest of the year.

The company hasn’t made any job cuts so far, and is still onboarding people who have been hired but haven’t started yet.

But, chief Sundar Pichai reportedly said in a statement that the tech giant is not immune to economic turmoil.

“By dialling back our plans in other areas, we can ensure Google emerges from this year at a more appropriate size and scale than we would otherwise. That means we need to carefully prioritise hiring employees who will address our greatest user and business needs,” Pichai said in a memo to staff.

Self-care

People appear to be masturbating away their stress during COVID-19-induced lockdowns as international sex toy sales spike.

US-based sex toy company Dame has reported a 30% increase in sales since February while New Zealand has reported a tripling of sex toy sales in recent weeks.

A growth industry if there ever was one.

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