Having now passed the initial 3-week ‘lock down’ set by the UK Government back on March 23rd, we are starting to see some clear signs of how the labour market is reacting in the short term and I wanted to share a few observations from our data.
At a time of such fast-paced change, Emsi’s Job Posting Analytics are providing insights on a daily basis of how the online hiring market is shifting, giving an early indication of underlying (short-term) economic change. In the period between March 7th — when we started to see the shift — and 13th April, the volume of online job posting activity in the UK has fallen by 31% (some half a million fewer job postings), and the stock of postings on April 13th 2020 is 29% below that of the same day last year:
Whilst alarming, what is perhaps more interesting (and useful for starting to think about how we manage through this period) is what lies underneath this headline. Whilst all occupation groups have seen declines since 7th March, the impact has been greatest amongst administrative, skilled trade, customer service and manufacturing operations occupations. Although still seeing declines, caring occupations, professional roles and elementary (low skilled) roles have seen a smaller rate of decline in postings:
The impacts have also varied geographically with Scotland, the South West and Midlands (East and West) showing greatest declines in posting activity, whilst the South East, North West and London has seen smaller falls in online job advertising activity.
As we dig to an even greater level of detail, there are some interesting fluctuations in posting activity for specific roles. Across the first couple of weeks of the lockdown, job posting activity had in fact increased for some key worker roles such as shelf fillers, lorry drivers, hospital porters and undertakers. Having worked through this short-term hiring frenzy it seems that a different pattern is establishing itself now — whilst hospital porters continue to be in greater demand, we’re now seeing the emergence of some key production roles such as those working in horticulture and some manufacturing roles. This may be a nod towards key industries settling into their new norm, along with the effects of adjustments to the restrictions on flows of goods and people.
Whilst tracking job postings only really shows us the tip of the iceberg right now, it is the best way to observe immediate, daily impacts. It falls well short of helping us to understand the true unemployment picture (we’ll have to wait another week or so to get the first half of March’s claimant stats), yet it does help us to get a feel for where the challenges (and opportunities) lie for local communities to focus on in the immediate term.
At Emsi we are continuing to track and share insights to help the communities we serve as more data becomes available to us, and as new insights emerge from official statistics we will continue to update you on what these are showing us via the blog. You can, however, track daily changes in the job postings market for yourself by visiting our special Covid-19 Employment Data Dashboard. Click on the button below to view, to request a free report for your local area, and to find details of a number of tools that can help your organisation better understand the rapidly changing labour market.