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Coronavirus and UK Job Postings Through 6th November: Recovery Stalls as Lockdown 2 Begins

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Job postings remain -44% down on last year, with growth in low-wage jobs lagging.

This post is updated as of 6th November 2020. We will continue to update these trends regularly as we track how coronavirus impacts the global labour market. 

Key points:

  • Hiring recovery is stalling: job postings on Indeed UK stood 44% below last year’s trend as of November 6, unchanged from previous week. 
  • Lower wage jobs are bearing the brunt as tighter restrictions hit in-person services. 
  • But high-paid jobs and sectors supporting the stay-at-home economy are faring better, offering opportunities for jobseekers.

The job postings trend on Indeed UK was stable last week at -44%. The slow recovery in job postings appears to have stalled for now, with most parts of the UK under tight restrictions as England went into its second national lockdown last week and Scotland and Northern Ireland remain locked down. 

Lower wage job postings have faltered notably in recent weeks, reflecting the impact of tightening restrictions on face-to-face services like hospitality, restaurants and personal services. 

Chemical engineering, medical technician and loading & stocking see improvements  

Improvements in job posting trends over the latest month were led by chemical engineering (mainly gas engineers). Certain healthcare occupations like medical technicians and physicians & surgeons saw improvements. Distribution related occupations like loading & stocking and logistic support also saw growth.  

Childcare, cleaning & sanitation and construction saw weakening trends, partially unwinding recent gains seen in all three categories. The hard-hit food preparation & service, beauty & wellness and hospitality & tourism sectors also faltered in the latest month, with these sectors being particularly sensitive to changing restrictions. 

Shift to stay-at-home economy reflected in new job postings

The marked divergence in hiring trends between in-person sectors (such as food preparation & service and hospitality & tourism) and those supporting the stay-at-home economy (such as loading & stocking and driving) continues. New job postings (those on Indeed for seven days or less) in the former group had been recovering over the summer, boosted by Eat Out to Help Out. They have since gone into reverse though, and are now running more than -80% down on last year. New job postings in loading & stocking meanwhile are running more than 10% above last year’s trend, while driving is down only -5%. 

London remains weakest performer

London continues to be the laggard regionally, with job postings in the capital down -50% on last year’s trend. The North East is closest to last year’s trend at -30%. The structure and sectoral composition of regional economies appears to remain the principal factor behind differences in job posting trends, as opposed to severity of lockdown restrictions. 

We will continue to provide regular updates on these trends as the situation evolves. We also host the data behind the postings trends plots on Github as downloadable CSV files. Typically, the site will be updated with the latest data one day after the respective Hiring Lab tracker is published.

Methodology

To measure the trends in total job postings, we calculated the 7-day moving average of the number of UK job postings on Indeed. We indexed each day’s 7-day moving average to the start of that year (1 February 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on), or another date if specified on the chart.

For each country we report how the trend in total job postings this year differs from last year, in order to focus on the recent changes in labour market conditions due to COVID-19. For example: if job postings for a country increased 30% from 1 February 2019 to 6 November 2019, but only 20% from 1 February 2020 to 6 November 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 130 in 2019 and 100 to 120 in 2020. The year-to-date trend in job postings would therefore be down 7.7% on 6 November (120 is 7.7% below 130) in 2020 relative to 2019. 

Information is based on publicly available information on the Indeed UK website (and other countries named in this post), limited to the UK (and those countries), is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations.