According to our latest job market data, job applications were up by 10.5% across the UK last month; with the application to job ratio soaring by a massive 52.4% year-on-year. It appears that more people are applying for new jobs ahead of the furlough scheme ending. 

We analysed our data from September 2020, comparing the findings with September 2019 and August 2020 to build an understanding of how the job market is fairing right now. Below, we explain our latest data in a bit more detail 

Applications spike in major cities 

While we saw a dip in applications back in August, they picked up significantly in September, which tends to happen as people adopt the ‘back to school’ mindset. 

The highest increases in application rates were seen in Brighton (up 46.8% year-on-year); Inverness (up 37.7% year-on-year)Bristol (up 33.1% year-on-year); Leicester (up 28.9% year-on-year); Edinburgh (up 23.9% year-on-year); Exeter (up 23% year-on-year); Manchester (up 19.8% year-on-year); London (up 9.9% year-on-year); Southampton (up 9.2% year-on-year); and Glasgow (up 8% year-on-year). 

More competition across key sectors 

In addition to this, when looking at the data by industry, the following sectors saw the biggest spikes in applications year-on-year: telecoms (up 108.2%), public sector (up 98.1%), medical (up 60.3%), education (up 47.1%), electronics (up 37.2%), property (up 32.8%), IT (up 30.7%), finance (up 22.8%), engineering (up 22.2%) and construction (up 21.5%). 

With the furlough scheme ending in a matter of weeks now, professionals are clearly nervous about their prospects and competition for jobs is ramping up. As we can see from our findings, this is happening across all corners of the UK and in a range of industries. 

Job numbers are down year-on-year 

When looking at the amount of job opportunities on offer, the data shows that vacancies were down by 27.5% year-on-year. The biggest drops in advertised jobs were seen in the design (down 70.2%), administration (down 65.2%), catering (down 63.8%), leisure/tourism (down 58.6%) and retail (down 58.4%) industries. 

Opportunities are improving month-on-month 

However, the findings show that while job numbers are much lower than a year ago, they are picking up every month. In fact, vacancies rose by 30.9% in September compared to August; with the highest increases appearing in Cardiff (up 41.9%); Leeds (up 41.5%); Portsmouth (up 36.5%); London (up 36.2%); and Leicester (up 36%). 

In addition to this, CV-Library’s salary data shows that average pay has dropped by 12.6% year-on-year and by 0.8% month-on-month.  

Furlough scheme ending – what does it mean? 

Every week we’re seeing more employers advertise jobs on our site; and, while vacancies are nowhere near levels that they were at a year ago, this is a promising indicator that the job market is heading in the right direction.  

That said, we know that many businesses and job seekers are still struggling; and worry about what a second wave will mean for their prospects.  

While the government is offering further support through its Job Support Scheme, the furlough scheme ending could mean trouble for UK businesses and professionals. All we can do for now is sit tight and weather the storm through the autumn and winter months. 

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