In the first week of August, the number of job adverts in the UK rose to the highest weekly total since lockdown began. The latest analysis by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) found that there were 1.10 million active job postings in the week starting 3 August, up from 1.04 million in the previous week. However, this remains well below the 1.35 million job postings active before lockdown in the first week of March.
Last week also saw the highest number of new job postings since lockdown began, with almost 126,000 adverts posted between 3-9 August. The previous high was the first week of June, with 112,000 new postings.
The strong growth in job adverts spanned almost the entire country. While the largest weekly increase was in Redbridge & Waltham Forest (+23.7%), four of the top ten hiring hotspots were in Northern Ireland – Derry City & Strabane (+11.5%), Ards & North Down (+11.0%), Fermanagh & Omagh (+9.2%) and Causeway Coast & Glens (+8.7%). As a whole, Northern Ireland saw a weekly rise in job postings of 6.3%.
In fact, there were only five counties/unitary authorities where the number of job postings fell compared to the previous week – with the biggest falls in Swindon (-11.5%) and North Ayrshire (-15.6%).
Just as Britain was hit by a heatwave, there was a notable rise in job adverts for gardeners (+24.8%). There have also been further increases in postings for construction workers (+15.8%), painters and decorators (+14.1%), bricklayers (+13.3%) and LGV drivers (+14.0%). Demand has also increased for childminders (+12.1%) and playworkers (+16.9%).
However, with many people falling on hard times because of the pandemic, there has also been a rise in adverts for debt collectors (+20.9%).
Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:
“The latest economic data tell a stark story of the scale of the lockdown recession – but now it is all about how quickly we recover. Many firms will face cash struggles in September and October, so redundancies will be with us for months to come and unemployment will rise. But a recovery is underway, as today’s tracker data shows. Construction sites have re-opened, logistics companies are dealing with high demand, and with people spending more time at home, many have been looking to spruce up their house and gardens. The increase in adverts for childminders and playworkers is interesting and perhaps linked to more people returning to offices and workplaces in the near future.
“It’s important to remember that we are not just passengers in all of this – we have tools available that can minimise the unemployment increase that is coming. Absent a major second wave of the virus, Government needs to make sure all its actions boost the recovery rather than put the brakes on. Supporting retention and hiring by lowering employers’ National Insurance would be a good start. There should also be a greater sense of urgency on things like the private sector job search support scheme announced by the Chancellor in July. And of course we need skills reform and a Brexit deal that helps firms to trade freely with Europe.”
Matthew Mee, Director, Workforce Intelligence at Emsi said:
“This week has been a particularly rough one in economic terms, firstly with the news that there are 730,000 fewer people on payroll than in March, followed by the release of data showing that GDP has fallen by 22.1% in the first half of the year. In the midst of what is clearly a very difficult situation, the data revealed by the Jobs Recovery Tracker does at least give some glimmers of light.
“Firstly, the fact that there has been an uptick in postings across the country is an encouraging sign that some industries and businesses are coming out of what was an essentially frozen state, and are seeing sufficient demand to warrant taking on new employees. Secondly, it is interesting that most of the growth has come in blue collar occupations, such as painters and decorators, bricklayers, and construction workers. Jobseekers Allowance data released in June indicated that the biggest rise in claimants was in exactly these sorts of jobs. For instance, Elementary construction occupations, Construction operatives, Construction trades and Construction and building trades saw a rise of 140,000 claimants from March to June. Although we don’t yet know if this trend will continue, what today’s Jobs Recovery Tracker data suggests is that there may be some more positive signs for those in these sorts of skilled trades and low skilled jobs than the JSA data would suggest.”