16 Stats on the Current State of the Job Market

28 Jul 2020

Recruitment Industry News

When we published our last statistics article about the state of the recruitment market, it was a much different picture. We were celebrating the fact that the market was worth 11% more than the previous year.

However the pandemic has seriously changed that outlook.

In this article we’ve taken a look at the current state of the employment market. The situation is changing every single day, but hopefully this helps you see growing areas and those currently in decline.

1) There are over 1 million active job vacancies right now in the UK.

Statistics looking at the week commencing 6th July 2020, show that vacancies have finally tipped over the 1 million mark. This is up from 990,000 recorded in the previous week.

2) 9.4 million employees are currently on furlough. 

The Government scheme launched in March is due to finish at the end of October, when employers will have some difficult decisions to make.

3) The number of payroll employees has fallen by 2.2%

Looking at figures from the period between March and June 2020, shows that 649,000 less people were on the payroll compared to the previous months. However on the positive side, the decline in employment has slowed in June when we compare this to May.

4) Employer confidence in making hiring decisions has risen for the first time since February.

Unsurprisingly, employer confidence has been down when asked about making hiring and investment decisions. However for the first time since the start of the pandemic, employer confidence has risen when it comes to deciding on the employment of new permanent staff in the next three months. 

5) Unemployment is expected to a hit peak of 12% before Christmas.

This is based on estimates, and on the assumption that between 10%-20% of employees currently being furloughed will be made redundant rather than return to work.

6) The North West of England has seen the highest increase in the number of job vacancies.

In fact, in one week the number of job postings grew by over 17,000. This is compared to East Lothian and Midlothian which has seen the largest reduction in job advertisements.

7) 17% of employers have made redundancies in the year up to July 2020.

This is a significant increase from the previous year, and demonstrates how businesses are trying to survive by shedding staff.

8) There has been a 23% drop in the average number of hours worked.

Looking at the period between early March and late April, we can see just how much impact coronavirus has had on the job market. Experts suggest that the drop in the number of hours worked is a better indication of unemployment than the current unemployment numbers.

9) 28% of firms expect to cut jobs in the next three months.

When you compare this to last year, when only 7% of companies expected to cut jobs, you can see the significance of the number.

10) 522,200 people aged between 16-24 claimed unemployed related benefits in June 2020.

Young people aged between 16 and 24, are thought to be the group that will be the most adversely affected by the pandemic. The figure of 522,200 is an increase of 116% compared to March 2020 when the lockdown began.

One in three young people have lost their jobs or been furloughed, compared to one in six older adults, showing the need to provide opportunities for young people.

11) Opportunities for IT professionals have grown by 18%.

Though initially hit hard by the pandemic, companies are realising the need and value of skilled IT professionals. This could be driven by the number of companies embracing a remote working culture in the long term.

12) Vacancies in the hospitality and catering sector have increased by 48%.

Vacancies in this sector have just kept growing since the start of June, reflecting the reopening of significant parts of the industry.

13) There are currently 14,000 open vacancies within the NHS.

Unsurprisingly, the NHS is Britain’s top hiring organisation currently, with Amazon propping up the private sector with 1,500 vacancies in London alone.

14) There has been a growth in demand for LGV Drivers and Graphic Designers.

Though wildly different occupations, both roles show changing needs within key industries. Web designers and developers are also in high demand.

15) Statistics show a decline in demand for teachers, fitness professionals and dentists.

Social distancing restrictions across these workplaces is likely to have decreased the demand for the professions.

16) Searches for remote working positions have risen by 222.4%

If you’re looking for experienced candidates for a role, then encourage your client to include remote working in the description! Many more people are now looking for remote positions after enjoying the experience during lockdown.

Those aged between 25 and 34 years old were the most interested. With professionals working in recruitment particularly keen to continue working remotely. Perhaps something to consider if you want to attract experienced recruiters to your agency.



  1. https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/research/recruitment-insights/jobs-recovery-tracker
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/16/number-of-uk-workers-on-company-payroll-falls-by-650000-amid-covid-19-crisis
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/16/number-of-uk-workers-on-company-payroll-falls-by-650000-amid-covid-19-crisis
  4. https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/news/press-releases/jobsoutlook-hiring-confidence-returns-positive-territory-wider-outlook-remains-gloomy
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/14/weak-recovery-could-take-unemployment-to-1980s-levels-warns-obr
  6. https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/news/press-releases/jobs-recovery-tracker-weekly-job-adverts-top-one-million-lockdown-eases
  7. https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/news/press-releases/jobsoutlook-hiring-confidence-returns-positive-territory-wider-outlook-remains-gloomy
  8. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53416207
  9. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53416207
  10. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn05871/
  11. http://hrnews.co.uk/coronavirus-london-job-market-hit-hardest-by-coronavirus-pandemic-%E2%80%8B/
  12. http://hrnews.co.uk/coronavirus-london-job-market-hit-hardest-by-coronavirus-pandemic-%E2%80%8B/
  13. http://hrnews.co.uk/coronavirus-london-job-market-hit-hardest-by-coronavirus-pandemic-%E2%80%8B/
  14. https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/news/press-releases/jobs-recovery-tracker-weekly-job-adverts-top-one-million-lockdown-eases
  15. https://www.rec.uk.com/our-view/news/press-releases/jobs-recovery-tracker-weekly-job-adverts-top-one-million-lockdown-eases
  16. https://www.onrec.com/news/statistics/data-shows-remote-working-roles-are-in-high-demand-lockdown
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