Latest data has revealed that while vacancies dropped by 5% in the week ending 2nd May, pockets of hiring remain, with the Education & Training sector dominating the recruitment market. The HR, Legal, Insurance and Finance arenas also reported an uptick in hiring, according to the real-time statistics from the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology.

Education and business critical functions lead hiring as lockdown eases

While hiring across the Education and Training sector remains strong - accounting for 40% of all new vacancies - as educational institutes continue to replace staff on sick leave to ensure facilities remain open for the children of key workers, other sectors are also performing well.

Legal, Human Resources and Social Services made up 34% of the jobs added in the week ending 2nd May with the latter a likely result of continued staff shortages in care homes that have been reported since the outbreak. The increased demand for legal professionals is indicative of the sheer number of businesses that have furloughed staff that have consequently required additional support to manage legalities in this area, and to handle contract amendments across the supply chain as organisations remain closed.

Focusing specifically on the HR arena, Broadbean Technology’s data suggests that the uptick in demand could, in part, be attributed to ongoing concerns surrounding employee health and well-being. This is in keeping with a poll from The Mental Health Foundation and LinkedIn indicating that almost three in five business are worried about losing staff to sick leave due to the mental health impacts of working in lockdown.

Looking specifically at the Insurance & Finance arena, which accounted for 18% of all new roles, vacancy growth could, in part, be indicative of businesses requiring experts to aid with applications for ‘bounce back loans’ and other COVID-19 related support funds.

Number of candidates applying for roles almost doubles in some sectors

While the level of vacancies is up in some sectors, Broadbean Technology’s data suggests that the number of applicants has also increased significantly for contract roles, as furloughed staff and those made redundant seek temporary employment. This is particularly evident in the likes of Logistics Distribution & Supply Chain and Call Centre & Customer Services which reported year-on-year increases of applicants per vacancy of 75% and 54% consecutively.

However, those sectors that had reported a skills shortage prior to the lockdown are still noting a dearth of candidates, with the likes of Education and Training seeing an average of just 6.9 applications per vacancy posted in April.

Birmingham and Bristol report uptick in hiring

After a strong growth in previous weeks, London saw a 22% drop in vacancies, but still accounts for the most overall jobs advertised across the UK. Other major cities noted an uptick, with Birmingham seeing a 19% week-on-week growth. With the city reporting the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths outside of London, this increase is perhaps indicative of an uptick in demand for healthcare staff to support a rise in hospital patient numbers. Bristol also saw an 18% increase in vacancies amid on-going reports of a huge demand for an ‘army of keyworkers’ to keep supermarkets stocked.

Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology, commented on the results: “Given the uncertainty of the global economy, seeing peaks and troughs of hiring is to be expected, so while our data shows vacancy numbers have dipped overall, the pockets of hiring we’re seeing are certainly encouraging. And while the demand for education professionals is an on-going trend, and one we expect to continue as the UK gears up for a phased re-opening of schools, it is encouraging to see other sectors showing promising signs.

“The notable uptick in applications per vacancy across contract jobs in industries where specific experience or prior training isn’t a necessity is certainly to be expected given the sheer volume of people who have unfortunately lost their jobs and turned to temporary employment as a source of income. However, as we move towards an easing of lockdown and a gradual reopening of the economy, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on vacancy and applicant levels across the UK. For those sectors such as education and healthcare where applicant numbers have always been low for vacancies, we can expect to see this continue, and possibly worsen, in the near future.”