Welcome to CV-Library’s latest job market report. In this article, we’ll take a look at how pay, job adverts and applications have fluctuated across the UK in Q3 2020.  

The last six months have been a turbulent time for businesses across the UK. Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, we were faced with an extensive national lockdown that threatened jobs across the country 

While our job market data doesn’t paint a rosy picture for the UK job market, it does show that the economy was on the road to recovery during Q3. Indeed, our key findings include:  

  • Advertised jobs increased quarter-on-quarter, though they’ve yet to return to pre-pandemic levels 
  • Job applications have also increased quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year  
  • Application per vacancy ratio has dropped quarter-on-quarter 
  • Average salaries have dropped quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year 

Below, we explore the data in more detail and discuss how the UK job market fared in Q3 2020.  

Job vacancies continue to grow but no sector has recovered to pre-pandemic levels  

The number of advertised vacancies has increased by 79.1% quarter-on-quarter, but is still 38.9% lower than during the same period last year.  

The locations which have seen the biggest growth in vacancies include:  

  1. Leeds (up 113.6%) 
  2. Leicester (up 105%) 
  3. Birmingham (up 98.2%) 
  4. Nottingham (up 95.8%) 
  5. Bristol (up 94%) 

However, despite this significant growth in job postings, the number of roles advertised between July and September is still 4.3% lower than at the start of the year. The areas that have experienced the smallest growth in vacancies are London (up 52.1%), Portsmouth (up 60.2%) and Hull (up 68.8%) 

When looking at industry data, the following sectors saw the biggest increase in job postings:  

  1. Distribution (up 261.7%)  
  2. Construction (up 213.4%)  
  3. Media (up 191.2%)  
  4. Legal (up 172.8%) 
  5. Hospitality (up 169%) 

Unsurprisingly, distribution tops this list as online shopping has continued to rise in popularity since the start of lockdown in March. However, it’s interesting to see that vacancies in the hospitality industry grew so significantly in Q3, despite it being so heavily affected by coronavirus. 

This increase is likely due to the easing of lockdown restrictions over summer and the introduction of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.  

What this means for businesses: This increase in vacancies is a sign that organisations across the country are beginning to recover. However, it will be a while before businesses can hire at the same rate as they were before. 

Indeed, as the UK enters a period of stricter restrictions due to COVID-19, this newfound confidence could be lost, and the job market could be put on hold once again.  

Job applications have risen quarter-on-quarter 

Job applications have also grown substantially quarter-on-quarter. Indeed, our data reveals that there were 33.9% more applications in Q3 than in Q2. What’s more, this is still 9.2% higher than during the same period last year.  

The locations which have seen the biggest growth in applications quarter-on-quarter include: 

  1. Nottingham (up 46.7%) 
  2. Liverpool (up 44.5%) 
  3. Birmingham (up 44.2%) 
  4. Manchester (up 41.3%)  
  5. Southampton (up 40%) 

As with job postings, while this growth is promising, the number of applications remains 4.3% lower than during the first three months of 2020.  

Furthermore, the industries which saw the greatest increase in job applications quarter-on-quarter were:  

  1. Administration (up 90.2%) 
  2. Recruitment (up 85.5%) 
  3. Marketing (up 78.6%)  
  4. Sales (up 77.7%)  
  5. Telecoms (up 74.6%) 

However, not all sectors witnessed an increase in applications. Indeed, agriculture (down 32.3%), social care (down 5.5%), hospitality (down 4.3%) and distribution (down 3.7%) experienced a drop in applications quarter-on-quarter. 

What this means for businesses: As the end of the Job Retention Scheme loomed during Q3, it’s no surprise that there were more applications to job vacancies. Indeed, while some professionals were made redundant, those placed on furlough may have applied for new opportunities in anticipation of the scheme ending in October.  

However, this influx of candidates makes it much easier for businesses to secure top talent. As such, you may be able to hire a professional that wouldn’t have been looking for a role under different circumstances.  

Applications per vacancy have dropped quarter-on-quarter  

Additionally, the quarterly job market data shows that the number of vacancies has continued to grow faster than the application rate. As such, this means the ratio of applications per vacancy has dropped by 25.2% quarter-on-quarter.  

However, this is still 78.8% higher than during the same period last year and 37.1% higher than Q1 

The cities with the largest decline in applications per vacancy quarter-on-quarter include Leicester (down 37.6%), Bristol (down 35.2%), Leeds (down 35.1%), Exeter (down 34.1%) and Cardiff (down 32.3%).  

Moreover, the industries which saw the largest decline quarter-on-quarter include distribution (down 73.4%), hospitality (down 64.4%), agriculture (down 60.7%), construction (down 53.9%and manufacturing (down 47.6%) 

Interestingly, while all other industries saw a decline in the ratio of applications per vacancy, the education, management and medical sectors saw increases of 28%, 6.1% and 5.3% quarter-on-quarter, respectively.  

What this means for businesses: In short, this means there are fewer candidates applying to your vacancies. While this may seem like bad news, this probably won’t impact your hiring plans too much. This is because the rate of applications per vacancy is still higher than during the same time, last year.  

However, if you’re concerned about securing top candidates, it’s vital that you offer a competitive package that includes great company culture, good benefits and a fair salary.  

Salaries are in decline 

Unsurprisingly, the data reveals that salaries are in decline across the country. Indeed, wages have dropped by 13.2% quarter-on-quarter and 6.5% year-on-year.  

The cities that witnessed the largest drop in pay during Q3 include: 

  1. Aberdeen (down 36.7%) 
  2. Edinburgh (down 26%)  
  3. Newcastle (down 20.1%) 
  4. Hull (down 18.4%) 
  5. Exeter (down 15.1%) 

On the other hand, the industries which have experienced the largest decreases in pay during Q3 include: 

  1. Media (down 11.9%) 
  2. Automotive (down 11.3%) 
  3. Manufacturing (down 9.7%) 
  4. Retail (down 7.5%) 
  5. Education (down 6%) 

What this means for businesses: It’s understandable that businesses may not be capable of paying higher wages in the current climate. However, it’s imperative that salaries remain as competitive as possible. As there are fewer applications per job posting, you may struggle to secure your favourite candidate.  

That said, with a wave of new lockdown restrictions in place, employers should be prepared for a dip in income once again. As such, it’s important to strike a balance between offering a fair salary and staying out of financial trouble 

Hiring in Q3 2020 

The UK job market has been a volatile place during the last six months, but Q3 did see some improvement. However, it’s likely that this will be short-lived. As restrictions continue to tighten and more cities are placed into lockdown, the damage to the job market could be extensive.  

That said, that doesn’t mean you have to put all your hiring plans on hold. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to hire in Q4, then get in touch. We can work with you to create a package that suits your needs but doesn’t break the bank.  

Contact our team on 01252 810995 or sales@cv-library.co.uk today.  

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