Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Applications rise to a 2022 record high but jobs fall: WaveTrackR October 2022 Recruitment Trends Report

. In an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable market, the news that applications increased by 10% from September, rising to the highest levels seen in 2022, is really positive for recruiters.

The WaveTrackR October 2022 Recruitment Trends Report was a tale of two halves. In an increasingly turbulent and unpredictable market, the news that applications increased by 10% from September, rising to the highest levels seen in 2022, is really positive for recruiters. However, at the same time jobs decreased by 6% from the previous month, dropping to 0.1% below the 2021 monthly average - only the second time this year that jobs have fallen below that mark. What does this mean for recruiters? We dig into this and more in our analysis of the report.

Increased job movement or a rise in those returning to employment?

October’s application numbers shot to 49% above the 2021 monthly average, the highest they have been all year. That, combined with the drop in jobs, lead to the average number of applications per job rising from 13 in September to 16 in October. So what are we looking at? Could it be that we are starting to see a ramping up of people returning to the jobs market or seeking another job with a higher salary due to the cost of living crisis? And is the recent (and ongoing) political chaos causing uncertainty-fuelled caution amongst businesses? That, added to the rising costs for businesses and slowing down of the consumer market, may be leading employers to begin to put on the brakes when it comes to hiring.

IT & Internet jobs and applications hold strong despite Big Tech layoffs

Recently it seems that every other day there’s a Big Tech company in the news announcing major layoffs. However, IT & Internet continues to dominate when it comes to both job postings and applications. The industry’s jobs accounted for a huge 24% of all jobs posted in October - the same as recorded in September and a 9% difference from the next highest industry for job postings, Education. They also took 23% of all applications - nearly double the next highest, Secretarial, PAs & Admin and Engineering, both at 12%. 

So why haven’t the high profile layoffs affected the UK tech sector (yet)? There was a small drop in applications, potentially an early sign that candidates are beginning to become more cautious about changing jobs at a time when many tech companies are making redundancies. Big tech companies are feeling the pinch of disappointing financial updates, with share prices for some of the biggest tech companies in the world tumbling. Tech start-ups are suffering from the financial downturn too, with some folding altogether. However, UK employment law means that the very sudden mass-scale layoffs enacted by companies such as Twitter and Meta couldn’t happen here. We may instead see job and application numbers altering over the next few months. The fact that jobs currently continue to be high is a positive sign that many SME tech companies and in-house digital departments are not currently slowing hiring.

Secretarial, PAs & Admin - job numbers don’t support candidate numbers

Secretarial, PAs and Admin continues to receive amongst the highest percentage of applications, yet the industry still doesn’t have the jobs to support the candidate numbers. Unsurprisingly, given the high numbers of applications the industry received, Secretarial, PAs & Admin also received amongst the highest average number of applications per job (21 compared to the overall average of 16).

Retail industry continues to face challenges

The retail industry is having a tough time. The cost of living crisis is severely reducing consumer spending, with monitoring group Springboard reporting that there was a drop in visitor numbers to shops in early October across most parts of the UK, coinciding with the introduction of higher energy costs from 1st October. Considering this is the time retail footfall normally starts to rise in the lead-up to Christmas, this may indicate tougher times ahead as we enter the peak Christmas shopping period.

The British Retail Consortium, in conjunction with KPMG, found that spending on big-ticket items such as furniture, TVs and computers fell in September. The news that online furniture retailer, which boomed during the pandemic, is nearing collapse is stark proof of that. As people begin to return the jobs market as a result of the cost of living crisis, WaveTrackR’s October Recruitment Trends Report found that Retail & Wholesale received an average of 54 applications per job - a huge number compared to the overall average number of just 16.

Financial services applications high, Health & Nursing and Public Services applications low

Two financial services industries made it into the top 5 for high average numbers of applications per job - Insurance at 47 and Banking at 23. On the other end of the scale, Health & Nursing yet again finds itself receiving a low average number of applications per job, as does Public Sector - both industries with historical skills shortages. 

Niche job boards continue to deliver

Niche catering-focused job board Caterer provided the highest average number of applications per job of all job boards in October. Following just behind are two other niche job boards, JobServe (IT-focused) and Secs in the City (Secretarial, PAs & Admin-focused), alongside Totaljobs. Another niche IT job board, CW Jobs, provided the next highest number of average applications per job. In fact, there was only one generic job board in the top 5.

This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, niche job boards are a good bet when advertising in-demand, niche roles. Secondly, Totaljobs is the only generic job board to provide recruiters with similar average application per job numbers to the niche boards in the top 5. At an average of 15 applications per job, it’s a long way from the next highest generic board - Reed at 6.

The start of the week is golden time

When should you post your jobs? Monday was the most active day of the week in October, being the day the highest numbers of applications were received. What’s great is that recruiters are in sync with that as Monday was also the day the majority of jobs were posted.