Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Job vacancies plummet across all corners of the UK, as businesses struggle in lockdown

The latest job market data from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, reveals that job vacancies plummeted across all corners of the UK in April.

Indeed, adverts fell by 59.9% compared to March; and certain cities experienced even bigger drops.

The study looks at job market activity throughout April, comparing the findings with the previous month and year to build an understanding of how the UK job market is fairing right now. The data shows that the following cities saw the most drastic drops in vacancies month-on-month:

  • Aberdeen – down 72.8% 
  • Leicester – down 68.9% 
  • Leeds – down 67.7% 
  • Bristol – down 67.1% 
  • Manchester – down 66.5% 
  • Birmingham – down 66.4% 
  • Sheffield – down 65.6% 
  • Southampton – down 63.6% 
  • Edinburgh – down 60.2% 
  • Glasgow – down 60.1%

Alongside this, the study shows that vacancies dropped substantially in the following sectors: automotive (down 84.8%), sales (down 84%), recruitment (down 83.5%), marketing (down 81.2%), retail (down 79.7%), construction (down 78.4%), distribution (down 76.6%), leisure/tourism (down 76.5%), accounting/finance (down 75.1%) and legal (down 74.9%).

Interestingly, when looking at year-on-year data, the findings show that jobs in the public sector have spiked by 39.1%, as well as a further 15.5% in the social care industry. 

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

“We’re trying to support UK businesses and recruitment agencies as much as possible right now, but everyone is feeling the financial effects of the current crisis. Thousands of companies have put a pause on their hiring plans until there’s more certainty in the market and this clearly isn’t limited to one pocket of the UK. As our data shows, job numbers have dropped in all locations and sectors, bar a couple that we know are playing a massive part in the fight against COVID-19.

“All we can do now is prepare for the recovery and hope that business confidence picks up over the next few months when lockdown restrictions eventually ease. Unfortunately, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel at this stage, especially as we move into the thick of the spring/summer period, which tends to be quieter for hiring anyway.”

Despite more Brits being out of work or placed on furlough in April, CV-Library's data shows that application numbers also dropped significantly last month; down 28.5% when looking at month-on-month data and by 31.2% year-on-year.  

Indeed, the following cities witnessed the largest falls month-on-month: Newcastle (down 39.6%), Liverpool (down 39.1%), Birmingham (down 39.1%), Aberdeen (down 38.9%), Sheffield (down 35.3%), Hull (down 35.3%), Leeds (down 34.9%), London (down 31%), Nottingham (down 29.4%), Manchester (down 29.3%), Leicester (down 29.2%).

However, when looking at data for key industries, the study shows that applications soared for agriculture jobs (up 46%), public sector roles (up 29.5%), social care jobs (up 6.2%) and medical/pharmaceutical/scientific roles (up 5.6%).

In addition to these findings, the job board also explored the application to job ratio on its site and found that this increased by 100.7% in April, compared to the previous year. This means there is more competition amongst candidates for the roles that are available.

Biggins concludes: 

“Unfortunately, organisations have had to make some tough decisions over the past six weeks, with ONS figures revealing that two thirds of businesses have placed staff on furlough. While these professionals might not be actively looking for work right now, especially at a time when there’s so much uncertainty, we do expect application figures to pick up in the coming months and clearly there is already increased competition for jobs.”

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.