Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Bleak reality for UK jobs market, as vacancies plummet by 62.7% during three months of lockdown

According to the latest quarterly job market report from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, job numbers plummeted by 62.7% in Q2 2020, compared to the previous year; and by a further 61.2% quarter-on-quarter; as businesses struggled to operate during the global pandemic.

The job board analysed millions of data points from its site between 1st April and 30th June 2020, to build an understanding of how the UK job market faired during these months. It reveals that the largest drop in vacancies year-on-year was experienced in all corners of the UK, including Aberdeen (down 80%), followed by Bristol (down 70.2%), Leeds (down 69.6%), Birmingham (down 68%) and Glasgow (down 67.9%)

When looking at data for key industries, the sectors which saw the biggest fall in job adverts during this period include administration (down 86.6%), design (down 85.8%), sales (down 84.1%), recruitment (down 82.3%), catering (down 81.9%), media (down 81.7%), marketing (down 80.9%), leisure/tourism (down 78.5%), hospitality (down 78.1%) and customer service (down 77.5%).

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments: 

It’s no secret that lockdown measures stunted the UK economy and labour market during this period. As a result, businesses had no choice but to put a pause on their hiring plans and make difficult decisions about their workforce. These figures are pretty bleak and naturally, some industries and locations have been more affected by others. What I can say, however, is that the market is already showing signs of recovery this month, albeit it very, very slowly.”

Interestingly, despite job security being a major concern for many professionals right now, job applications actually dropped by 23.3% year-on-year, during Q2. However, applications did rise in industries which relied on key workers during COVID-19; including agriculture (up 219.8%), the public sector (up 179.3%), medical (up 27.7%) and social care (up 13.5%).

Alongside this, when looking at the average application to job ratio across the UK, the data shows that this rose by 84% quarter-on-quarter; meaning there are more people battling it out for every job. The cities which saw the biggest increase in apps per vacancy were Bristol (up 175.4%), Edinburgh (up 128.7%), Brighton (up 137.3%), Southampton (up 124.9%) and Leicester (up 117.1%).

Finally, average pay dropped in sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic. In fact, salaries fell by 19.6% in leisure/tourism, 9.6% in charity, 8.2% in catering and 2.3% in hospitality. Pay actually increased by 5% across the UK, compared to the previous quarter; though this could be attributed to the fact that businesses were advertising fewer jobs, but with higher pay.

Biggins continues

“While applications dropped overall, there were less jobs being advertised and that means there’s a lot more competition for the roles that are available. In addition to this, while the furlough scheme has been a life support to hundreds of thousands of businesses, it does also mean that the national employment rate is possibly higher than it should be right now. As a result, we expect to see applications pick up in the coming months, as more people are forced to look for new jobs. With the government now encouraging businesses to return to the workplace, it will be interesting to see if this has a further impact on the UK job market going forward.”

About CV-Library

CV-Library is one of the UK’s largest online job sites and attracts over 4.3 million unique job seekers every month. Founded by Lee Biggins in 2000, CV-Library is the UK’s leading independent online job board with a database of over 15 million CVs.