Research reveals that, out of 62 cities analysed, none have recovered to their pre-lockdown job postings level.

New research from think tank Centre for Cities and Indeed, a job site, has shown a correlation between the recovery of the labour market and the number of people utilising local services. However, all cities and towns saw a decrease in job postings at the start of October.

Specifically, the think tank points to areas in the UK that have seen a low footfall (less people returning to the city centres) and a higher rate of people working from home as having the slowest job market recovery.

Cities like Aberdeen in Scotland saw the largest gap between job postings now in comparison to this time last year, seeing a 75 per cent fall. Other places that saw a large disparity include Edinburgh (57 per cent), London (52 per cent), Reading (52 per cent), Luton (50 per cent) and York (49 per cent).

Conversely, places such as Chatham (7 per cent), Stoke (17 per cent) and Burnely (18 per cent) have recovered significantly faster than the rest of UK in terms of the job postings available.

Naturally, due to the slow footfall and local tier restrictions, certain sectors have failed to see a rise in job postings including sectors related to food, retail, arts and leisure. At the start of October, these sectors were still seeing a 48 per cent fall in job postings compared to last year, despite having recovered from the summer months where the gap stood at 70 per cent.

However, other sectors such as healthcare and education fared relatively well as, last October, job postings were only 27 per cent higher in these areas.

The research states that the reintroduction of working from home and stricter lockdown measures means that the prospect of a job recovery “seems distant, especially in larger cities”. It has argued that these lockdown restrictions are likely to “slow the creation of high street jobs” and this probably won’t change until “large numbers of people return to city-centre work sites”.

Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed, said:

The timid recovery in job vacancies is a portent of the distress towns and cities could face if restrictions continue to spring up in parts of the country already reeling from imposed lockdowns and reduced footfall.

With the remote work trend showing no sign of abating, and entire regions being placed under stricter control, service jobs in large towns and cities could become scarcer still and pull the UK into a jobs spiral.

That could mean a very long winter ahead for the millions of people currently unemployed.

Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said:

While unemployment continues to rise, the number of jobs available to people who find themselves out of work is far below its level last year in every single large city and town in the UK.

This could have potentially catastrophic long-term consequences for people and the economy.

The Government has told us to expect a tough winter and while local lockdowns are necessary to protect lives, it is vital that ministers continue to listen and reassess the level of support given to help people and places to cope with the months ahead.

The Chancellor made welcome amendments to the Job Support Scheme which should help save jobs, but many places across the country didn’t have enough jobs before the pandemic hit so creating more will be vital to prevent long-term economic damage to their local economies.

If you are interested in learning more about recruitment and retaining talent during and post COVID-19, our webinar on this issue can be viewed here.