Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Business confidence drops in Q1 2020, as job numbers plummet across major industries

But more people are applying for new jobs than a year ago

According to the latest quarterly job market report from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, the UK labour market slowed down in Q1 2020, with job adverts dropping by 4.1% year-on-year and a further 1.8% quarter-on-quarter.

The report analyses job market activity throughout Q1 2020 and compares the findings with data from the previous year and quarter. It shows that key cities experienced even bigger drops in job advertisements year-on-yearincluding Birmingham (down 9.3%), Leeds (down 9.2%), Exeter (down 8.8% and Hull (down 5.2%).

What’s more, certain industries were hit hard by both Brexit and COVID-19most notably catering, sales and automotive. The top 10 sectors that saw the biggest drop in job adverts were:

  • Catering – down 52.8%
  • Sales – down 23.8%
  • Automotive – down 22.6%
  • Recruitment – down 17.8%
  • Administration – down 16.7%
  • Retail – down 14%
  • Customer Service – down 13.6%
  • Marketing – down 13.5%
  • Manufacturing – down 12.1%
  • Leisure/Tourism - down 12%

Alongside this, pay in industries that are being hit hard is declining. Indeed, average salaries in hospitality dropped by 8.6%, in catering by 5.2% and in leisure/tourism by 3.1%. Interestingly, pay has also fallen in industries that are hiring key workers, including agriculture (down 17.3%), distribution (down 6.2%) and the public sector (down 7.1%).  

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments on the findings: “It really has been a tumultuous start to the year and it’s having a massive impact on UK businesses and the wider economy. While measures are being put in place to protect companies and their employees, the reality is that both Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic will have long-lasting effects on the UK labour market and we’re already starting to see this.

“The job market has been largely candidate driven for a number of years now and this meant that businesses had no choice but to hike up their pay packets in order to attract applicants to their roles. However, we’re already seeing a shift in this pattern and it’s clearly impacting salaries. Unemployment rates are set to soar in the coming months and this could be financially devastating for UK professionals.”

The data also shows that applications to new jobs have risen by a marginal 0.8% year-on-year and a larger 27.3% quarter-on-quarter. The locations with the largest increases in applications year-on-year include Northern Ireland (up 8.5%), the South East (up 5%), Scotland (up 3.7%), the East of England (up 2.2%) and the South West (up 2%).

When looking at industry data, the findings show that applications have risen in the following industries year-on-year: hospitality (up 134.5%), agriculture (up 95%), public sector (up 85.4%), IT (up 34.4%), charity (up 30%), telecoms (up 27.5%), legal (up 19.5%), property (up 7.1%), distribution (up 6.5%) and engineering (up 6.3%).

Biggins concludes: “Despite there being less jobs on offer, applications have risen and the driving factor behind this is the fact that a lot of people are out of work right now. Whether they’re on furlough or they’ve been made redundant, this has clearly led to more people looking for new jobs. At the same time, a number of these sectors are hiring for key workers and job seekers are reacting to market demand.

“It’s difficult to predict how the labour market will perform in the next quarter, but sadly, it doesn’t look promising. While more professionals will be keen to find new job opportunities, organisations are suffering badly at the helm of COVID-19 and many are holding back on their hiring efforts as a result.”