It will come as no surprise that the recently published research on jobs in the West Midlands pointed to a sharp deterioration in conditions as replicated across the UK jobs market.
As organisations put their recruitment plans on ice amid the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. permanent staff appointments and temporary assignments fell at the sharpest rates in the survey’s 22-year history.
The key findings of the latest survey show -
Strict measures to contain the spread of the virus, which include temporary company closures, also led to a record drop in overall vacancies. Weaker demand for staff also drove renewed falls in starting pay. At the same time, the availability of candidates rose at the steepest rate since 2009 amid widespread reports of redundancies.
Unprecedented fall in recruitment activity
Recruitment consultancies across the UK signalled a severe drop in overall hiring activity at the start of the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic led companies to put hiring plans on hold. As a result, both permanent placements and temp billings fell at rates far exceeding those seen even at the height of the global financial crisis.
Staff vacancies fall at sharpest rate on record
The pandemic also weighed on demand for staff as uncertainty over the outlook, including the longevity of any measures to contain the virus, led clients to reassess their staffing needs. Vacancies for both permanent and temporary workers fell at the sharpest rates ever seen since the survey began in October 1997.
Renewed fall in pay as demand for staff weakens
After rising at notably slower rates in March, starting salaries and temp wages both fell during April. Permanent starting salaries declined at the quickest rate since March 2009, while pay awarded to short-term staff dropped to the greatest extent since July 2009.
Labour supply increases for first time in seven years
The availability of candidates rose for the first time since April 2013, with the rate of expansion the steepest since November 2009. Recruiters widely commented that redundancies had led to marked increases in the supply of both permanent and temporary staff.
Regional and Sector Variations
Permanent staff appointments fell at record rates across all four monitored English regions in April, led by the North of England. Similarly, all four English regions registered the most severe drops in temp billings since data collection began in October 1997.
April data highlighted a broad-based decline in staff vacancies across the public and private sector. The most severe falls in demand for staff were seen for permanent and temporary workers in the private sector. That said, the public sector also saw record declines in vacancies for both permanent and short-term staff.
Substantial falls in demand for permanent workers were seen across all monitored job categories except for Nursing/Medical/Care in April. The nine sectors posting falls all saw record rates of decline, led by Hotels & Catering.
Nursing/Medical/Care was also the only sector to register higher demand for short-term staff during April. In contrast, record falls were seen across all nine remaining categories. Secretarial/Clerical:
The good news is the capacity for our economy to recover is definitely there!
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Posted on Tuesday May 19