Job vacancies down by 42% since lockdown

A new report shows job vacancies have fallen by 42% since lockdown, with some regions worse hit than others and jobs increasing in areas such as social care, cleaning and health.

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Job vacancies have fallen by 42% since the lockdown began last month – by far the largest monthly fall in job openings in at least 20 years, according to a new analysis.

The analysis by the Institute for Employment Studies uses vacancy data collected by jobs boards Adzuna.

The analysis finds that the largest falls in job openings have been in Scotland (down 49%) and London (down 44%).  By contrast, Northern Ireland and the North East have seen vacancies fall by around one third (35%) – although they account for a very small fraction of all job opportunities (2.5% of the total).

It suggests that the differences within regions are greater than those between them.  Ten local areas have seen vacancies fall by 50% or more, comprising:

■      Two areas in the North West of England – with Blackpool seeing the single largest monthly fall, of 69%, and Trafford in Greater Manchester down by 51%

■      Five areas in Scotland – with Edinburgh among these, falling by 58%

■      Two areas in the South West of England – including Devon, down 53%

■      South East London, down by 50%

The analysis of changes by job types shows that vacancies have fallen steeply across whole swathes of the economy and not just in sectors that were “shut down” last month. While job openings in hospitality and catering have seen the largest falls (down 70%), vacancies have also fallen by more than 60% in sales, administration, public relations, consulting, HR and recruitment, energy and charity work.

However, some employers are still creating jobs.  For instance, vacancies have fallen only slightly in healthcare and have risen in social work and cleaning.  Combined, these three areas now account for a quarter of all vacancies, compared with just one in seven a month ago.

Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said: “This data paints a stark and detailed picture of how the jobs market has been rocked over the last month.  These impacts are far greater than anything we’ve seen before and are affecting all places and nearly all parts of the economy.

“At the same time though, there are still nearly half a million job openings, with vacancies holding up in health and social care in particular.  So we need to keep working to support those who are out of work and looking for work to find those jobs.

“The continued lockdown is justified and necessary, and if it eases during May and June then we should expect to see vacancies start to rise again.  But we need to start planning for that recovery now, with a ‘Cobra for Jobs’ to bring together those inside and outside government and ensure that the country can get back to work as quickly as possible.”

City jobs

Meanwhile, Morgan McKinley’s London employment monitor shows City jobs bounced back in the new year following greater Brexit certainty, but fell by 38%, month-on-month, in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, job seekers kicked off the new year with an increase of 21% month-on-month, leveling off through February, and that job seekers continued their job searches through March, as demonstrated by a 7% month-on-month increase from February. Hakan Enver, Managing Director, Morgan McKinley, said bank pledges to stave off redundancies and the Government’s furlough scheme were helping to preserve jobs for the time being.

He added: “Institutions continue to recruit business critical vacancies, whilst at the same time, ramping up their remote team systems and practice. This means that those working in IT and Fintech are going to continue to enjoy a robust job market. Software Engineers, IT Auditors, Cyber Security experts and Data and Analytics professionals will continue to be in demand, clients being prepared to conduct telephone / video conferences and online tests to determine if they are to be future colleagues. All onboarding is completed remotely, with the new employees starting work from home, with the necessary equipment being couriered to them. Positions outside of these verticals continue to progress, but at a slower pace. In some instances, the final interview being put on hold until staff are able to return to the office and a final face to face meeting then be conducted.”

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