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Green shoots for recruiters despite tiered lockdown

Permanent and contract vacancies increased 17% month-on-month in September, according to new data from Apsco, with year-on-year data revealing that the percentage drop in annual hiring levels is closing.

The data, provided by growth analytics platform, cube19, revealed a rise in month-on-month hiring in September. Permanent and contract vacancies both saw a 17% increase, while placements rose 27% for permanent and 13% for contract.

September year on year figures showed a 33% drop in permanent vacancies compared with 43% in August while the drop had halved to 15% from 30% for contract vacancies.

“It’s highly encouraging to once again see an uptick in month-on-month vacancies and placements following the expected seasonal blip in August,” said Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo. “September was certainly viewed as the month where we would have a clearer indication of how the UK will fare in a post-lockdown environment as schools reopened and attempts to return to business as usual continued.”

The data is also in line with results of the latest Labour Market Report from the Office for National Statistics which revealed last week that vacancy numbers had seen a quarterly increase of 144,000 between July and September, while the number of people in pay-rolled employment grew by 20,000 in September.

Impact of three tier lockdown

Job vacancies decreased by 6% in the week ending 11th October, according to the latest real-time statistics from Broadbean Technology. However, advertised roles were up 39% when compared to the first week of September. Much of the decline in vacancy numbers was reported in cities that have been hit hardest by Covid-19, with Manchester and Birmingham seeing advertised roles fall by 8% and 5% respectively.

When analysing the number of applicants per vacancy (APV), Broadbean’s data reveals that some of the hardest hit industries throughout the pandemic are beginning to see applicant numbers level out. Within Travel & Tourism, APV levels dropped 70% month-on-month which is indicative of not only a return from furlough for many employees, but also an increase in professionals seeking alterative careers in light of the pandemic.

In comparison, at the height of the pandemic AVP levels increased by 47% in April and had more than doubled between March and May (170%).  Across Administration and Secretarial roles, the APV level dropped 36% demonstrating that many individuals have returned from furlough as employers start to have not only the confidence, but also the ability to increase headcount and move away from the Government funding scheme.

Commenting on the data, Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology, said: “Vacancy levels have dropped over the last week, however when looking at month-on-month figures, we are seeing them increase at a healthy level, demonstrating that the jobs market is remaining resilient in the current client.

“And with APV numbers levelling out across some of the hardest hit industries, and nearly returning to ’normal’, there is certainly an air of optimism across the recruitment landscape. With employers better able to facilitate remote working and stay operational in times of lockdown, we are quietly confident that we won’t see the negative vacancy growth that we witnessed earlier this year.”

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