Last reviewed 22 January 2021

Job adverts in the UK in December 2020 saw a 10.5% increase on the figure for the same month in 2019 with 1.77 million jobs on offer.

A number of factors, including pent-up demand for staff and an increase in the amount of time that employers are leaving job adverts open for, meant that the total number of job postings was notably higher than before Covid-19 hit the UK.

However, the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) has pointed out, this recovery also masks a clear industry and regional divide.

It is not surprising, the Confederation notes, that the month saw significantly higher numbers of job postings for health professionals such as nurses (+62.7%), care workers (+25.8%) and radiographers (+71.3%) compared with a year earlier.

There were also more adverts for environmental health professionals (+92.7%) as businesses and workplaces must comply with strict social distancing guidelines in order to stay open.

The REC believes that the significant increase in the number of postings for vets (+108.4%) is perhaps due to potential changes in food safety and animal welfare standards following Brexit.

Skilled trades such as bricklayers (+92.9%), glaziers (+71.6%) and carpenters (+41.5%) also saw higher numbers of job adverts as construction sites remained open and home improvements could still take place.

Again, not surprisingly following the lockdowns, the jobs that have been badly hit include bar staff (-69.9%), travel agents (-58.9%), chefs (-58.2%), beauticians (-52.9%) and sports and leisure assistants (-49.8%).

As to the regional differences, London was the only major region which saw a year-on-year drop in job adverts (-4.7%), as businesses in the capital continued to struggle due to social distancing measures, work-from-home policies and the closures of non-essential shops that have been put in place to combat the pandemic.

REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry said: “The potential for a strong bounce-back after the vaccination programme is rolled out is there. Jobs are still being created all over the country. But it is no surprise that some sectors and regions like health, social care and construction are in the lead, while others, particularly hospitality and particularly London, are in desperate need of support.”

Comment by Paul Holcroft, Managing Director at Croner

It may not be surprising to see that the healthcare industry has the highest job advert postings than other sectors given the level the UK has reached with the coronavirus.

At the moment, employers across the UK, depending on the industry they are in, may still feel uncertain about their recruitment position at this stage of the pandemic and will likely refrain from making plans to hire until there is a steady direction from the Government as to the future of the economy.