The news is full of doom and gloom, worrying statistics and of course acres of space dedicated to the second national lockdown. And times are tough for so many, that much is undeniable. Which makes WaveTrackR’s October Report all the more heartening.
Jobs are at the highest levels seen all year, eclipsing even the early months prior to the nation’s initial lockdown. Applications continued to soar but began to fall halfway through the month, indicating perhaps that the gradual increase in jobs over the past few months is starting to result in greater numbers of candidates being placed in jobs. Of course, another lockdown off the back of this will mean more redundancies but the extension to the furlough scheme should help to curb numbers. What we do know is this – jobs have been steadily increasing since May, and that is something to hold onto.
Jobs remained higher than the January-March average for the entirety of October, reaching a peak of 40% over the average numbers for that period, which is a great indication of the improving health of the jobs market. Indeed, at 28% over the pre-lockdown 2020 average, job posting in October nearly tripled the next highest figures, seen in February. Applications continued to soar, reaching a year-high figure of 175% over the average for pre-lockdown months in mid-October and a monthly average of 148% over it. Clearly, redundancies are still rising, adding to unemployment levels, which is why the uptick in jobs is so encouraging. There remains a disparity between jobs available and applications received but that will undoubtedly be the case for some months to come.
What is also clear from the data is that there is a chasm between the industries that are struggling and those that are booming as a result of the crisis, compounded with skills shortages in some areas and severe lack of jobs in others. Some sectors, such as IT & Internet, Education and Property, seem to be balancing a relatively high number of jobs posted with a similar volume of applications. Supply and demand appears to be fairly equal.
Property and Health & Nursing, on the other hand, have a high number of jobs – 12% and 8% shares of all jobs posted through WaveTrackR respectively, placing them in the top five amongst all sectors – yet don’t make it onto the leaders board for applications. Here we have busy sectors, actively trying to fill positions, but without the numbers of applications that other sectors are receiving. On the flip side, Finance and, rather worryingly for our industry, Recruitment Sales are experiencing a high number of applications but with far fewer jobs. The fact is that many industries are struggling and some remain unable to open at all, at the same time that others are booming and actively creating new jobs to meet demand. This would suggest that transferable skills should be looked at, with the possibility of candidates from industries that are most affected by the crisis moving into those industries with plenty of jobs – even if it is a temporary move.
October has delivered the most encouraging news of the year in terms of jobs. It may be bittersweet to see those figures while simultaneously edging into a further lockdown but at least the market is in a more stable place to deal with whatever is to come than it was a few months ago.