The latest Keep Britain Working Job Index Report shows a continued recovery in the job market, with a full recovery back to expected levels for a typical year on the cards for spring. This is despite a series of lockdowns and restrictions that have affected hiring plans. Although we now find ourselves in another lockdown, we have confidence that the job market can keep on course to recovery.
What we’ve seen following the impact of the first lockdown is a continued recovery and growing resilience to subsequent restrictions of movement and business activity. The percentage difference in the number of jobs advertised year on year has steadily grown, from a low of -67% in May last year to the latest complete month, December, that was only -9% down on the year before.
Early signs for January are promising. Typically a busy month in recruitment as people look to change jobs in the new year, the first working week of 2021 saw more than half a million job applications made on reed.co.uk.
Whilst job numbers overall are returning to normal levels, there is no doubt that the picture within individual sectors will be very different. The pandemic has hastened the demise of many retail brands as consumer behaviour has changed, whilst other sectors, such as leisure and tourism, have seen companies mothball as their trade temporarily disappears. Elsewhere, other sectors, such as IT, have seen a rise in demand, for example in cyber security or cloud-based roles, and we are expecting a hiring spree in green technology as investment in this space grows.
The focus needs to be on securing individual livelihoods, and the return of the job market to full strength, offering jobs to those that need them, will be welcomed. When the job market does recover it will be a different landscape compared to pre-Covid. We should not only help people start and progress in their chosen career but also facilitate those that need it to switch to new sectors. A focus on skills, retraining and development will be more important than ever.