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5/28/2020 9:37:51 AM

Recruitment watchdog launches Jobs Recovery Tracker

In an innovative move, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has launched the Jobs Recovery Tracker, which uses job postings data to spot signs of labour market growth by county and occupation type.

The REC's mission is to champion the UK's recruitment organisations, businesses that drive our economy and create opportunities for millions across the country. It promotes high standards in great recruiters and is the self-proclaimed 'voice of the industry'.

The survey has been designed to help track the recovery of the jobs market from the current crisis, according to Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC. He said: "While there has been a huge slowdown, this job postings data shows that the picture isn’t uniform in all parts of the country and for all types of occupations. We will be updating this tracker regularly to make sure that jobseekers and recruiters know exactly where and how that recovery is happening."

Recruitment is a powerful tool for companies and candidates to build better futures for themselves and a strong economy for the UK, and their exciting announcement will shape the industry going forward. The tracker found that, despite employer demand in the UK dropping, there were almost one million unique job adverts in the UK between 11-17 May 2020. The largest surges in hiring are being seen in rural areas (particularly in South Norfolk, Omagh and Moray).

Survey findings

Whilst there are some disappointing findings, it's not all doom and gloom.

Unsurprisingly, all areas of the UK saw a persistent decline in the number of job postings posted in the first two weeks of May, with the exception of the North East (an 0.8% increase in postings). The South West and North West suffered the most significant weekly falls (-2.4% and -2.2% respectively). A direct consequence of COVID-19's impact, the data also reveals a longer-term decline in postings. Before lockdown measures were introduced, there were over 1.86 million unique job postings in the UK. This fell by 28% in April.

The hardest hit industries are varied. A cross-section shows that the  number of job adverts for LGV drivers fell by a significant 7.4%, as well as demand for architects (-6.5%) and construction project managers (-6.2%) as new building projects are delayed.

However, several professions saw increased demand in mid-May, and demand for certain occupations has also grown during the pandemic. It will come as no surprise that the number of job postings for health professionals (+9.2%), pharmacists (+3.9%), and nurses (+2.7%) all increased. Perhaps less predictably, the demand for security guards (+3.8%) and artists (+4.1%) increased too.

The number of new job postings was strongest in Breckland & South Norfolk in the east of England. It grew by 8.7% over the first two weeks in May, the fastest of any local area in the UK. Many areas of Scotland and the north-east of England also saw growth, such as Argyll & Bute (+4.5%), Durham (+2.4%) and Northumberland (+2.4%).

The future

Matthew Mee, Director of Workforce Intelligence at Emsi oversees the processing of the data. He said: “The launch of REC’s Jobs Recovery Tracker will be an important lead indicator of what we all hope will be a speedy economic recovery across the UK.

“We’ve seen a significant fall in total postings activity over the last few weeks, however there are some early positive indicators emerging in the data which is encouraging to see.

“It’s going to be really interesting to monitor the details of the market adjustment in the weeks ahead – so looking at trends like who’s hiring versus who’s not, what skills are in demand and how has this changed, what is happening to pay levels and work patterns. By providing these insights, we hope to play our part in getting the UK and the Recruitment sector back to work.” 

Neil Carberry added: “Health and social care workers being in high demand isn’t a surprise, but as more workplaces start to re-open, we are likely to see similar trends emerging for other roles. The increase in job adverts for cleaners and security guards could be the first sign of this.

It’s encouraging to see growth in many areas of north-east of England, and hopefully other regions will start to follow in the coming weeks. The economy will begin to bounce back from COVID-19 in the coming months, as businesses start to hire again. We hope this report will also support the collaborative work between government and business to redeploy workers into sectors where demand is returning.”

These ongoing surveys will monitor the change in job postings across different local areas and occupations regularly during the coming months. Findings from this data will undoubtedly support businesses, recruiters and policymakers in mapping how the jobs market is evolving and growing as the economy starts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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