Post-Covid Employment Spikes: UK job market sees strong rebound

April 23, 2021


2 min read

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What's going on here?

The UK labour market is showing signs of picking up as recruiters report the strongest rebound in hiring for permanent positions in six years.

What does this mean?

Following the economic uncertainty and precarious job market triggered by the COVID-19 lockdowns, the month of March showed the strongest rebound in hiring for permanent roles since 2015. 

A report for KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation highlighted that alongside this, there has also been accelerated demand for temporary contract hiring as well as the sharpest rise in vacancies overall since 2018. 

There is a particular demand for those skilled in IT, nursing, specific finance roles and the growing digital economy. 

What's the big picture effect?

Although it is certainly promising to see the job market opening up again even before lockdown is lifted, there are some concerns to consider. 

The government’s furlough scheme has helped limit job losses. However, there are still five million workers benefiting from the scheme which is due to end on Thursday 30 September 2021. Research carried out by the New Economics Foundation has estimated that 850,000 jobs will be at risk of redundancy or lower pay once the scheme comes to a close. 

Fears over job security are currently making those still in work reluctant to move jobs, which may change once lockdown comes to an end and the economy opens up again. As a result, there may be a build-up of people who had previously wanted to move jobs flooding the job market. 

With young people reportedly being hit by the impact of the COVID-19 job market the most, graduates are also facing tougher competition as they compete with a larger pool of candidates from both the 2020 and 2021 graduate classes. For example, the managing partner of EY stated that they had received 50% more applications this year compared with February 2020.

Despite a challenging year, the UK legal industry has enjoyed growth of around 6% during the pandemic, highlighted by the recent news of bonuses handed out by some commercial law firms and repayment of furlough money. This could mean growth in legal teams and hiring for support staff, often roles taken up by recent legal graduates. However, this has not necessarily translated to regional law firms as more than 40% of firms outside of London have reported a drop in revenue. 

Nevertheless, the increasing appetite to hire signals that businesses are confident enough about their futures to commit to new workers as lockdown eases and gives hope to those seeking work in these challenging times. 

Report written by Yaeno Fernandez 

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