Weekly vacancy analysis: Vacancy trends in week ending 7 June 2020

Wilson T, Papoutsaki D, Williams M |   | Institute for Employment Studies | Jun 2020

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This is the ninth in a series of weekly briefings exploring changes in vacancies since the Covid-19 crisis began.  The work is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and uses vacancy data collected by Adzuna (www.adzuna.co.uk) – one of the largest online job search engines in the UK. This briefing covers vacancies up to Sunday 7 June 2020 and includes new analysis of changes in vacancy levels by occupation.

Changes in new vacancies and vacancy levels

As at 15 March 2020, Adzuna was listing 820 thousand UK vacancies, which by 7 June had fallen to 346 thousand. Over the last week vacancies have increased slightly by 21 thousand, or 6.5 per cent. The current stock of vacancies is now 58 per cent lower than before the start of the crisis, and 64 per cent lower than the same week in 2019. Our analysis finds that in the last week, there were 94 thousand new vacancies notified, which is 58 per cent lower than in the week before the crisis began, but higher than the very low figure reported last week, of 57 thousand new vacancies. 

Local and regional changes in vacancy levels

Vacancies per capita have fallen in all regions and devolved nations. Falls have been larger in those areas with more vacancies pre-crisis, but there has been very little re-ordering between regions – those regions with the most and fewest vacancies pre-crisis still have the most and fewest vacancies now. Even now, there are more vacancies per capita in London and the South East than there were in the devolved nations and the North East of England before the crisis began. Every region and nation has a higher level of vacancies per capita now than Northern Ireland had before the crisis began.

Vacancies by job type

Vacancies have fallen in all job types, but health and social care work has held up overall. Health, IT, education and social care jobs account for just over half of all vacancies – even though the number of jobs in IT has halved since March. Falls have been particularly steep in hospitality, sales and retail, but there have been large falls across a range of professions and industries. There are some signs of a pick-up in vacancies on last month in a small number of job types – in particular in IT, accounting and finance, warehousing/ logistics, customer services and sales.

Vacancies by salary level

The plurality of vacancies are in the salary band £15,000-£24.999, but since the crisis began the gap has closed with vacancies that pay £25,000-£34,999. Vacancies have increased marginally across all salary bands between May and June, except for jobs paying £55,000 or more.

Vacancies by occupational group

For this week’s briefing, we have matched Adzuna ‘job types’ to the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) so that we can analyse changes in jobs in a way that is consistent with other labour market data.  The largest percentage falls have been in vacancies for associate professionals, administrative and secretarial jobs and skilled trades (so mid-skilled and relatively higher-skilled roles). Falls in the numbers of vacancies should be treated with caution, as some occupational groups may be less well captured by the matching process than others, however at face value, the largest falls in levels of vacancies have been for professional and associate professional jobs – so relatively higher skilled, and usually higher paid, work.

Conclusions and next steps

There are still very few signs that vacancies are recovering as the lockdown is slowly eased.  This likely reflects continued uncertainty and lack of confidence in businesses, suppressed consumer demand and high levels of ‘spare’ capacity within firms due to the support from the Job Retention Scheme.  The regional and local picture remains particularly concerning, with previous analysis showing that ex-industrial, coastal and inner city areas were facing particularly tough jobs markets.  There are some signs of hiring picking up in some industries, while vacancies continue to be holding up relatively well in health and social care in particular. 

We will continue to publish further vacancy analyses at the end of each week, with next week’s briefing focusing on local unemployment-to-vacancy ratios (taking account of new claimant count data being published on Tuesday).

Finally, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also produces a weekly update at the aggregate level using Adzuna data. Their analysis, including details on the differing methodologies used between our analyses, is detailed here.