Lockdown 3.0 has limited impact on UK job market

As the country went into a third national lockdown, the latest job market data from CV-Library, revealed a resilience in the UK job market that may surprise many.

Lockdown 3.0 has limited impact on UK job market

 As the country went into a third national lockdown, the latest job market data from CV-Library, revealed a resilience in the UK job market that may surprise many.     

As the UK’s largest independent job board and with around half the UK workforce registering their CV with CV-Library, our data has always been one of our most valuable resources, offering analysis of business trends and useful insights on the state of the UK job market. As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches record peaks in UK and we find ourselves in another national lockdown, all eyes are on the NHS and the economy. This means our job market data has come into even sharper focus as we try to understand and analyse the true extent of the damage the virus has inflicted upon the country.   

Comparing lockdown data   

We used the following time frames to analyse the job market data from the first week of each lockdown:   

  • Lockdown one, week commencing 23rd March 2020 
  • Lockdown two, week commencing 8th November 2020  
  • Lockdown three as the week commencing 6th January 2021  

Overall, the results contained some pleasant surprises.    

When compared to the first full week of lockdown one in March 2020, the number of job postings in this latest lockdown were up a huge +91.8%. Even in the first week of lockdown two, when the market fared much better, job postings were +0.8% higher over the first seven days of lockdown three.        

January 2021 vs January 2020    

The most revealing data lies in the year-on-year comparisons. Weekly job postings for the week beginning 6th January 2021 against the same week in 2020, show just a -10.7% annual decline.    

Broken down by industry, the COVID-19 patterns are clear and apparent when compared to 2020. Those sectors enduring the toughest elements of the restrictions, with reduced capacity and in many cases full closure, predictably saw job postings plummet. Available roles in the catering sector were down by three quarters with a -75.7% drop, leisure and tourism also fell considerably with a -68.7% decline and retail, which would normally be boosted by the biggest sale season of the year, dropped by almost half to -48.6%.   

Other sectors held steady and declines were minimal. The construction industry fell by just -2%, IT dipped slightly with -4% and property services dropped only -6.6%.   

Unsurprisingly, the increases came in distribution up by +44.5%, social care with an uplift of +27.5% and also medical, pharmaceutical and scientific which rose by +26.6%. We are also able to report increases of +59.4% across managerial roles and a +46.4% rise in job postings within the telecoms industry. Agriculture was boosted by over a third, manufacturing and surveying roles were up by +21% and public sector roles, which have featured heavily in the press of late, rose by a solid +20.3%.    

The story behind the numbers   

Starting 2021 in another full lockdown, and off the back of a year spent mainly under restrictions, many feared this would be a tipping point for the UK job market. The impact of COVID-19 is still clear to see within the individual sectors, but the overall initial impact of this third lockdown appears to be the least damaging, proving that we’re learning to navigate and adapt in these unprecedented times.    

January is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the job market and we must acknowledge this seasonal boost. However, we must also remember that in January 2020 the world was a very different place. It hadn’t been impacted by the pandemic and no-one could have foreseen, let alone believed, what was coming. The UK economy was stable, we lived with little caution and had few reasons to feel anything other than optimistic and to be bold in our business decisions and aspirations.     

Fast forward to January 2021 and things look, and feel, very different. Yet the year-on-year data doesn’t reflect this monumental and unprecedented shift. For job postings to be only -10.7% down over this period, is both unexpected and significant. Such a minimal decline should provide both comfort and also a boost, to both employers and job seekers alike.    

There’s no denying that the whole world faces some huge challenges, and we have a long way to go to return to any kind of normality, but we have to try and look beyond the negatives and be constructive as we go forward. The vaccine is rolling out at a gathering pace and the Government is aiming to offer all of the adult UK population a first dose by September. Based upon our data, so far, this is a reassuring and positive start to what will no doubt be another uncertain year for the UK job market.

Lee Biggins
Lee Biggins

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