Future of Work

The impact of coronavirus on the employment market has dealt a devastating blow to job hunters with vacancies plummeting to the lowest levels since March 2014.

With 637,000 vacancies advertised within the UK between February-April 2020, these figures equate to a 25% decrease in vacancies across the UK YoY. The numbers also show that there has been a drop of 170,000 available roles since the previous quarter (November 2019-January 2020).

It is uncertain as to when the job market will pick up again, with figures released in April highlighting that 63% of businesses revealed they have taken a financial hit from the effects of COVID-19.

Joel Kempson, personal finance expert at, said: “COVID-19 is clearly having a devastating effect on the UK jobs market. It’s shocking to think that just three months ago in February, there was a record employment rate of 76.6% across the UK.” It is clear that within Q1 of 2020, there was already a dramatic drop in job vacancies across many industries, with the hardest hit being:

  • Financial Services and Insurance (-15%)
  • Transport and Storage (-14.8%)
  • ICT (-13.6%)

Whereas other sectors have seen job opportunities rise, including:

  • Public Administration (+9.5%)
  • Mining and Quarrying (+7.1%)
  • Administration & Support Services (+4.2%)

Surprisingly, despite the troubles facing the housing market, there has also been an increase in available job vacancies within Real Estate (+4%)

Joel Kempson added: “Industries that have taken the biggest hit as a result of the coronavirus crisis, are those which were forecast to see huge growth across 2020. Last year, the UK achieved its largest fintech investment on record, as up to £3.8 billion worth of capital was raised.

“This backing should give those within the industry hope that there may be positive movement within these areas as lockdown restrictions ease.”

Ultimately, the fall in job vacancies throughout the UK is yet more bad news for the 2.1 million people claiming unemployment benefits.

While the government has provided financial support for businesses, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there is a strong sense of uncertainty as to what will happen to those working in industries that may find it difficult to recover.

With 25% of UK workers being furloughed, it is important that people are taking necessary steps to cut back on their spending, and save where possible, in such unprecedented times.

Joel Kempson concluded: “The decline of the jobs market is a great worry to both those currently unemployed and anyone working in industries that have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. As a result of this, it is vital that people take the opportunity to save money where possible.

Percentage change in job vacancies across the various sectors (January-March 2020):

Financial & insurance activities -15
Transport & storage -14.8
Information & communication -13.6
Manufacturing -12.6
Water supply, sewerage, waste & remediation activities -12.5
Motor Trades -10.6
Professional scientific & technical activities -10.3
Retail -7.1
Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning supply -5.9
Accommodation & food service activities -5.8
Wholesale & retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles -5.5
Construction -5
Education -1.4
Human health & social work activities -0.8
Arts, entertainment & recreation 0
Wholesale 2
Real estate activities 3.9
Administrative & support service activities 4.2
Mining & quarrying 7.1
Public admin & defence; compulsory social security 9.5

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