Job vacancies plummet across the UK as COVID-19 damages hiring

Coronavirus has hit car workers in the UK hard (Colin McPherson/Corbis)

The latest job market data shows that job vacancies plummeted across all corners of the UK last month.

Job vacancies fell by a huge 60% in April, according to CV-Library, as companies stopped hiring new recruits.

The most drastic drops in vacancies were seen in Aberdeen, Leicester, Leeds, Bristol, and Manchester — all down by more than 50%.  

Sectors worst hit included the car industry, recruitment, sales, marketing, retail, and construction.

But while the private sector has been hit hard, the public sector has faired better. Job vacancies have spiked by 39% with opportunities in the social care industry jumping 16%.  

Lee Biggins, chief executive of CV-Library, said: “Thousands of companies have put a pause on their hiring plans until there’s more certainty in the market and this clearly isn’t limited to one pocket of the UK.

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“As our data shows, job numbers have dropped in all locations and sectors, bar a couple that we know are playing a massive part in the fight against COVID-19.” 

The survey also revealed increased competition among applicants for the jobs that are available. Birmingham was the most competitive with 47 applications per job, up 92% year-on-year. London was second with 41 applicants per job, a rise of 79% year-on-year.

It comes as wages for more than 6 million UK workers is now covered by the government’s furlough scheme. It means that more than a fifth of UK employees are being paid by the scheme.  

“Unfortunately, organisations have had to make some tough decisions over the past six weeks, with ONS figures revealing that two thirds of businesses have placed staff on furlough. This means there is a lot more competition for the jobs that are being advertised right now,” said Biggins.