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UK job vacancies fall 36% on COVID-19 lockdowns

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The gradual job market recovery the UK was experiencing a few months ago has fallen sharply due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, according to a study. Photo: Getty
The gradual job market recovery the UK was experiencing a few months ago has fallen sharply due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, according to a study. Photo: Getty

The UK’s latest COVID-19 lockdown has led to a 36% decline in the number of jobs posted on recruitment site Indeed compared with last year, according to the company in a study released on Friday.

An analysis of the number of jobs listed on Indeed each week since 1 February 2020 revealed that the latest lockdown has halted the steady recovery that began last summer, and the “gap is widening,” it added.

The last time the UK jobs market stood at such levels was during the depths of the first coronavirus lockdown in April 2020.

Indeed analysed hundreds of thousands of jobs advertised across its platform to identify which sectors were suffering the biggest drop in hiring.

It found that the largest declines came in sports jobs, including among coaches and fitness instructors. The sector had made a recovery in December as gyms remained open under England’s Tier 3 restrictions. However, January’s lockdown measures caused a reversal in the trend, forcing gyms, leisure centres and sports facilities to close their doors yet again.

Indeed said job postings have fallen sharply following the government's latest COVID-19 restrictions. Chart: Indeed
Indeed said job postings have fallen sharply following the government's latest COVID-19 restrictions. Chart: Indeed

This led to a drop in the job postings trend by 8% in just a week.

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The beauty and wellness sector also saw a sharp fall in hiring as businesses were forced to close nationwide. Hiring in healthcare professions, such as dentistry and medicine, have seen “robust hiring trends,” but “vacancies are becoming scarcer in other industries hit hard by successive lockdown restrictions.”

“The early signs are that the return of a national lockdown has delivered a setback to the jobs market’s gradual recovery,” said Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed.

He added that the rapid roll out of the government’s vaccination programme is vital, “both for public health and for the health of the economy – particularly its ability to create jobs.”

Job losses could extend further as the government maintains tight lockdown restrictions. UK prime minister Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that the country was "taking steps" to keep out cases of a coronavirus variant discovered in Brazil, which he was “concerned” about, and could contribute to rising cases.

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