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Jobseekers continue to job hunt despite COVID-19 crisis

Morgan McKinley has released it Q1 Spring London Employment Monitor, which shows that following the election result in December 2019, employers began to plan for the future. This can be seen in the 97% month-on-month increase in jobs available in January 2020. Despite these higher numbers continuing into February, the rise of the COVID-19 crisis meant that in March, jobs dropped by 38% month-on-month.

On the flip side, jobseekers did not stop looking for jobs as the crisis rose; in January job seeker numbers increased 21% month-on-month, before levelling off in February and then rising 7% month-on-month in March.

Hakan Enver, managing director of Morgan McKinley UK, commented, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire: we barely got to take a breath between Brexit and this new global crisis. London came back in the new year, with a renewed optimism, which was reflective in the general mood of employees and employers alike. Soon enough, business confidence fell once again which has in turn impacted trading prospects and overall economic optimism. Thankfully, City employers are doing all they can to enable remote working to ensure the safety of employees as well as business continuity.

“Numerous banks have pledged not to cut any jobs in 2020 and employers are honouring job offers that were already made. This is a strong sign from major institutions that by working collectively, they can do their part to fend off similar dire circumstances that the UK faced after its decision to exit the EU. However, projects are being paused which is inevitably slowing hiring. Once the initial shock wears off we will see jobs begin to trickle back through.

“The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will go a long way toward ensuring that as few employees and employers as possible fall through the cracks during this difficult time. It’s critical that the government and business continue to work together, with the country uniting to tackle this common threat. 

“Institutions continue to recruit business critical vacancies, whilst at the same time, ramping up their remote team systems and practice. This means that those working in IT and Fintech are going to continue to enjoy a robust job market. Software engineers, IT auditors, cyber security experts and data and analytics professionals will continue to be in demand, clients being prepared to conduct telephone / video conferences and online tests to determine if they are to be future colleagues. All onboarding is completed remotely, with the new employees starting work from home, with the necessary equipment being couriered to them. Positions outside of these verticals continue to progress, but at a slower pace. In some instances, the final interview being put on hold until staff are able to return to the office and a final face to face meeting then be conducted.

“Despite all the above, if the global pandemic results in a global recession, then we will feel the consequences of this moment for some time. That’s why right now it’s all hands on deck to avoid a health calamity that precipitates an economic one.”

For new employees, the average salary for moving rose by 12% in March, which is the lowest it’s been in over two years (apart from July 2019). In Q1 2020, there was a 43% increase in jobseekers compared with the prior quarter.

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