You are here

Changes in health and employment during the COVID-19 pandemic

Changes in work, including widescale unemployment and reductions in working hours, have been one of the major consequences of measures introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19. Underemployment reached an historic high of 13.8 per cent (April 2020) leaving 1.8 million people working reduced or zero hours, and GDP fell by a record 7 per cent (June 2020 quarter). By the start of 2021 things had improved with employment recovering almost 93 per cent of the March-May 2020 loss. Whilst parts of the economy have quickly recovered, some changes to work during the pandemic may have longer-term health impacts and could shape the future of work. This PhD project will examine the health and employment of Australians who have lost their jobs or lost work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to track changes in health and work over time. The PhD candidate will seek to understand what impact job and work loss is having on mental and physical wellbeing, who is at greatest risk, and how and when people recover. The project will also elucidate how well workers have handled any changes to their work environment and how their workplaces have adapted. The successful candidate will be part of a team of researchers working on similar projects in a very collegiate environment and a multidisciplinary team of senior investigators. A PhD stipend of $29,500 per annum (2021 rate - indexed annually) will be available to the successful candidate. The project will suit someone with experience analysing large data sets, solid understanding of statistics, and with a background and experience in a health or related discipline. Progress made in this project offer government, industry and employers an opportunity to develop evidence-based support resources and strategies to ease the transition back to work or worksites during the pandemic, and support the health of workers. Thus, we seek an excellent student who satisfies the following criteria: Essential Criteria 1. Australian Citizen or Australian permanent resident 2. An undergraduate (Honours) or Masters degree in a Health Sciences, Public Health, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Economics, Computer Science or related discipline 3. Good written and oral communication skills and an ability to work in a team environment 4. Experience in analysis of large datasets, preferably from an epidemiological perspective 5. Experience using common statistical packages such as SPSS, STATA and R 6. Good organisational skills, including the ability to set priorities, manage time, plan work to meet deadlines and work effectively under pressure Interested candidates who clearly satisfy the above selection criteria at a high level should first contact Dr Daniel Griffiths or Professor Alex Collie for more detail of the application procedure. Candidates that satisfy the selection criteria above at only a moderate level, or satisfy only some of the conditions are encouraged not to apply, as the scholarship selection process is very rigorous. Supervisors: Prof Alex Collie and Dr Daniel Griffiths.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
COVID-19, health, mental health, work, employment, lockdown
School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
Available options 
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Physical location 
School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
Daniel Griffiths

Want to apply for this project? Submit an Expression of Interest by clicking on Contact the researcher.