The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has found that the number of job adverts has risen to 1.36 million – the first time this has occurred since early March. 

A new report by the REC has found that job postings have recovered to levels of pre-lockdown for the first time in eight months. The number of job adverts reached 1.36 million which has meant that this figure has actually surpassed some figures in early March for job postings.

However, the recovery has not been evenly spread throughout the UK with only half of the regions (six out of 12) seeing higher job postings. Conversely, the other half of the regions (the remaining six) have seen fewer job adverts than the levels in March.

The region which recovered the quickest was the North-West of England which saw the number of job adverts rise to pre-lockdown levels by August 2020. Wales had also recovered by August. By October, six of the regions of the UK had recorded higher numbers for job postings than March including Northern Ireland, the North-East, Scotland and East Midlands.

However, the capital London has seen the slowest recovery in terms of the amount of job postings. London reported almost a fifth fewer jobs than in March (-18.7 per cent). Other areas that have seen less recovery include West Midlands (-9.3 per cent) and Yorkshire & the Humber (-6.8 per cent).

Additionally, different sectors have also seen disparate results when it comes to the amount of job postings.

In October, the job adverts levels for nurses had increased by almost 40 per cent (39 per cent) in comparison to the numbers in March. Other sectors that have seen an uptake in job postings since March include food and drink processing operatives (53.2 per cent) and large good vehicle drivers (43.3 per cent).

However, unsurprisingly, other sectors such as roles in hospitality and leisure have seen a large fall in job postings. Job adverts for bar staff have almost been cut by half since March (-45.6 per cent) whilst jobs like chefs (-45.6 per cent) and fitness instructors (-36.8 per cent) have been similarly impacted.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC has argued that businesses have to be supported in creating jobs:

Unemployment and redundancy numbers earlier this week showed that this is a tough moment for our jobs market. But we also know that there are always jobs being created by those businesses who can, and as this data reveals, there is hope to be found in many places and sectors. What we need to do now is support businesses who can to create jobs, and help people who have lost work to transition into those new roles. With the stark difference in demand across different regions, avoiding a skills mismatch will require serious planning. Recruiters, with their intimate local and sectoral knowledge, can play a central role in this effort.

Government can also help by reducing barriers to creating jobs through tax policy and regulatory change – like keeping the online right-to-work checking we have moved to in the pandemic. Broadening the apprenticeship levy would also allow workers to train and fill skill gaps in the longer-term. Some hard-pressed sectors with high demand – like food manufacturing – also need the new immigration system to reflect the severe shortages they are facing.

Matthew Mee, Director, Workforce Intelligence at Emsi, a labour markets analytics firm, added:

I wholly agree with Neil’s comments – particularly the urgent need for focus on re-skilling parts of the workforce to enable speedy transition into sectors that are in growth mode. With discussion this week around a potential Covid vaccine coming closer to fruition, and the rise in confidence this brings, it will be interesting to see how this impact hiring activity in coming weeks.

*This data was taken from the Jobs Recovery Tracker report which was produced by the REC in collaboration with Emsi. This data was collected between 1st March and 8th November 2020.