Vacancies down over 40% due to Covid
By Sarah Wood
Vacancy levels across the UK saw a sharp decline in 2020, with jobs falling 43 per cent year-on-year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
That's according to new research - 'A nation in flux: a look at recruitment numbers in a Covid hit economy' - produced by Broadbean Technology
Broadbean's research also reveals that competition for jobs was high, with a 55 per cent increase in the average number of applications per vacancy (APV) in 2020, compared to 2019.
There were sector specific variations in APV numbers, as the pandemic hit some areas harder than others. Administration & secretarial and call centre jobs saw a particular spike in applicant numbers year-on-year, according to the research.
While Broadbean's APV data is consistent with the rising unemployment levels seen last year as a direct result of the pandemic, it would appear that the furlough scheme provided a level of security, with 15 per cent less applications made in total in 2020 compared to 2019. This suggests that while the APV for some roles was high, many employees and organisations were relying on the job retention scheme throughout the height of the pandemic.
While Covid-19 had an impact on every sector, some areas were hit harder than others. Travel and tourism was a real casualty, with vacancies dropping 98 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
By contrast, and largely thanks to the huge move to remote working, IT fared considerably better. While demand for IT professionals peaked and troughed - jobs fell by 66 per cent in Q2 compared with Q1 2020 - this steadily increased throughout the pandemic. As a result, vacancy numbers were down by just over a third (38 per cent) year-on-year for the final quarter of 2020.
Alex Fourlis, managing director at Broadbean Technology, said: "There's no doubt that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the employment market across the UK, which is reflected in our research.
"However, there are some encouraging signs that positive steps were starting to be made at the end of 2020. And while the Prime Minister has outlined his roadmap to exit restrictions, we certainly still have a long way to go before 'normality' returns - in whatever form that takes.
"However, what we can see from our analysis is that the recruitment sector is, in many instances, in a better place than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. But while we are cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind us, there are additional challenges that will no doubt impact hiring throughout 2021 - namely Brexit and the fast-approaching private sector roll out of IR35."
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