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What impact has the second lockdown had on UK businesses?

Written by Lee Biggins on Thursday, 10 December 2020. Posted in Talent, HR, People

Every month, the CV-Library team look at the latest data to analyse business trends and offer useful insights on the state of the UK job market.

What impact has the second lockdown had on UK businesses?

Every month, the CV-Library team look at the latest data to analyse business trends and offer useful insights on the state of the UK job market. This month, the research looked at data from the CV-Library site throughout the month of October 2020 and compared the findings with data from October 2019 and September 2020.

These results clearly showed that the UK was starting to show signs of recovery throughout October, but as we exit a second lockdown, only time will tell if this recovery has been thwarted.

What does the data say?

According to our latest job market data, the number of job postings dropped by 25.9% year-on-year in October 2020. However, it is worth noting that this figure still grew by 9.7% month-on-month.

Interestingly, this may not be the case for businesses in the distribution sector, as it was the only industry which witnessed significant growth in job postings both month-on-month and year-on-year. Indeed, vacancies in the sector increased by 76.9% and 71.7%, respectively. This demonstrates the increased demand for distribution workers during the pandemic and with Christmas around the corner and a second lockdown underway, this demand is unlikely to subside. 

Sadly, on the other end of the spectrum, the retail sector is in a much more precarious situation. While vacancies grew by 20.2% in the sector, likely in preparation for the Christmas rush, they’re still a whopping 58.7% down on last year. As a result, it may be tougher for the industry to rebound when these latest restrictions are lifted, particularly as it falls during their most profitable time of the year.

What does this mean for UK business? 

Simply put, it suggests that UK business should proceed with caution - unless you work in distribution. It may be a few weeks until we fully know the economic impact of the second national lockdown and it’s vital that organisations don’t overstretch themselves. 

However, there’s no need for employers to panic, as early data suggests that the second lockdown is having a less significant impact on the economy than expected. 

Indeed, we compared job figures from the first week of the lockdown in March, to the first week of the second national lockdown in November. 

Interestingly, job postings for the week commencing 5th November were up an incredible 89.9% when compared to the week beginning 23rd March 2020. This suggests that the second national lockdown hasn’t hit the UK job market as severely as it did in March.

As a business owner, it’s important to move forward with your business plans but take the necessary precautions to protect your business if the UK remains under stricter restrictions. 

How to prepare your business? 

Go remote 

Even with the promise of a vaccine on the horizon, it’s likely that areas across the UK will be in and out of regional restrictions in the weeks and months to come. As such, it’s vital that your business can operate remotely. This means that you may have to invest in technology that facilitates remote working, but it will help you keep operating in the long run.

What’s more, this move won’t just help you survive COVID, but it will also attract top workers in the future. Indeed, over the last few years, an increasing number of professionals are looking for job opportunities that offer flexible or remote working patterns. 

Plan your hiring strategy carefully 

Recruiting new team members can be costly and time-consuming but if you need to hire new staff, it’s an essential process.

However, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re looking for in a new team member right from the start of the process. Having this information to hand before you advertise the vacancy will enable you to form a better job advert. Ultimately, this will increase the number of quality applications you receive and will enable you to fill the vacancy quicker. Not only will this save you time, but it will also save you money. 

While it may seem counter-intuitive, this is actually a great time to invest in cost-effective hiring tools, particularly those that offer extensive access to candidates. By spending money on access to a detailed CV Database or paying for your hiring staff to have access to a Premium LinkedIn membership, you’re far more likely to find the perfect candidate much faster.   

Don’t panic 

It can be tempting to look at the statistics I laid out above and panic about the future of your business. This reaction is totally understandable but it’s important to remain positive. 

Whatever you do, don’t pull the trigger on making redundancies too soon. Not only will this be tough for your employees, but it may also leave you understaffed when you needn’t be.

There’s no doubt that this will be a turbulent time for companies across the UK. However, the latest data does seem positive. The best way for organisations to weather this storm is to continue on with their business plan, but to do so with care. 


About the Author

Lee Biggins

Lee Biggins

Lee Biggins is founder and CEO of the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. The site, founded in 2000, was a response to Biggins’ identification of a market niche.

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