You can’t dance like this and nor can I, but let’s have some Pulp and we’ll see you back shortly when you stop hiding in the wardrobe.
What we’re hearing:
- The economy is improving, but we’re a long way from where we were at the start of the year and a prolonged return to lockdown will be a blow to small businesses and sectors like culture, retail and hospitality that have already had a hard time
- The level of vacancies is running at just over 50% of normal rates and seems to be climbing – slowly
- The graduate labour market has suffered significant damage, particularly in the arts – which may be the worst-affected sector in the UK. Many key graduate employment sectors – in health, social care, IT, finance– have been much less affected than many other areas of the economy. Retail, hospitality, travel and accommodation employers have all taken long term hits.
- It looks like there’ll be a two-track recovery (US economists are calling it ‘K-shaped’, with some sectors, particularly those where remote working is effective, recovering rapidly and others slowly. As most of the rapidly-recovering sectors are highly graduate this may exacerbate the already serious social and economic divides in the country.
- Things are also looking difficult for the self-employed, partly because a lot work in sectors, such as the arts, that have been badly affected and partly due to sheer lack of cash reserves although the sector has been more resilient than originally feared
- Undergraduate students have shown up for the start of term in large numbers but COVID outbreaks and lockdown restrictions are affecting morale and mental health and dropout are concerns. But we must also be mindful that young people not in employments have very few alternative options at the moment.
- Postgraduate interest is strongly up
- Salaries are likely to remain stagnant or even fall
- Decisions made about recruitment and business strength this year will also affect next year’s recruitment round (at least)
- The collapse in employment in retail and services is likely to affect term-time jobs for students in the future and thus the ability for students from less advantaged backgrounds to support themselves at university
- The pandemic is going to profoundly change the nature of work for many employees and professional services and IT workers in particular have proved as productive at home as in the office, so a widespread move to homeworking is likely for many graduates. The large majority of workers in tech and professional services are currently working from home, and if this pattern persists it will significantly change many aspects of society, particularly in our cities.
- London seems to be taking a particular hit, with footfall and vacancies well below normal levels. It remains a very strong graduate economy though.
- Many employers are at least discussing recruiting in Q3 and Q4 if conditions permit after missing the normal recruitment round earlier in the year. Others have decided to wait until 2021 though.
- In September 2020, 20,000 more people were in payrolled employment when compared with August 2020 and 673,000 fewer people were in payrolled employment when compared with March 2020
- Estimates for June to August 2020 show an estimated 1.52 million people were unemployed, 209,000 more than a year earlier and 138,000 more than the previous quarter
- The estimated UK unemployment rate for all people was 4.5% (4.9% for men, 4.0% for women); this is 0.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.4 percentage points higher than the previous quarter
- Total working hours have improved but remain low
- Redundancies increased by a record 114,000 on the quarter. Needless to say, this is a huge figure for a quarter.
- The number of employees has fallen in recent months
- UK Claimant Count level has increased by 120.3% since March 2020
And the House of Commons Library have updated their briefing on the effects of pandemic on the labour market.
The Employer Skills Survey report for 2019 came out this week. This is a marvellous piece of work that comes out from the DFE every 2 years and involves surveying a 5% sample of UK employers to find out about recruitment and the challenges faced by business. Over 81,000 employers were surveyed.
It’s particularly useful for (amongst other things) examining occupational shortages, and we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the survey and the data in it at a later date.
- Vacancies in 2019 were down on 2017
- But hard to fill (HTF) and skills shortage vacancies (SSVs) were *up* on 2017
- 24% of vacancies were SSVs, construction, manufacturing particularly affected
- Employers had reduced training since 2017 – 60% of staff had received training in 2019
- Hard to fill vacancies were more prevalent for high skill jobs
- Vacancies that were particularly hard to fill included
- Professionals in IT, business services, education and public administration
- Associate professionals in financial services, public administration
- Main reasons for HTF vacancies at grad level)
- Low number of applicants with required skills
- Not enough people interested in doing job
- Just not enough applicants
- For some associate professional roles, lack of work experience
We know that many shortages persist despite COVID-19 and we’ll be looking at that in particular in the weeks and months ahead.
- 94 per cent of the world’s workers currently live in countries with some sort of workplace closure measure in place
- 12.1% of working hours were lost in Q3 2020, equivalent to 345 million full-time jobs
- 8.6% of working hours are projected to be lost in the fourth quarter of 2020, equivalent to 245 million full-time jobs
- The hardest hit groups are migrants, informal workers, young workers and women.
Skills Development Scotland have a rather good series of reports on the Scottish experience – here is September’s
- 86% of businesses were currently trading up to 20th September
- 9% of the workforce were on partial or full furlough leave
- 28% of the workforce were working remotely instead of at their normal place of work
- 59% of the workforce were working at their normal place of work
- 74% of IT and comms and 62% of professional services employees were working remotely
- 72% of manufacturing and health and social care employees were at their normal place of work
- IT and comms businesses were the most likely to still have paused trading, with 25.5% of businesses (do bear in mind that there are a lot of SMEs in this group)
- 13.5% of microbusinesses (up to 9 employees) are still paused
- No health and social care businesses appear to still be paused.
- 43% experienced a decrease in profits compared with what is normally expected for this time of year
- 34% experienced no impact on profits
- 7% experienced an increase in profits compared with what is normally expected for this time of year
Across all industries, of businesses not permanently stopped trading and that reported more staff working from home:
- 12% experienced an increase in productivity
- 52% experienced no impact on productivity
- 24% experienced a decrease in productivity
Of businesses not permanently stopped trading across all industries:
- 19% intend to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model in the future
- 67% do not intend to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model in the future
Education, IT, professional, scientific and tech and water supply, sewerage and waste management are the most likely industries to say they will have increased homeworking.
Of businesses intending to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model in the future, 60% reported it was because of improved staff well-being, 55% reported it was because of reduced overheads, and 34% reported it was because of increased productivity.
Across all industries, of businesses not permanently stopped trading:
- 4% had no cash reserves
- 24% had less than three months’ cash reserves
- 51% had more than three months cash reserves
The accommodation and food service activities industry had the highest percentage of businesses that had no cash reserves, at 6%.
Conversely, the information and communication industry and the education industry (private and higher education businesses only) had the highest percentages of businesses that had cash reserves to last more than six months, at 43% and 42% respectively.
12% of businesses currently trading had low confidence that their business would survive the next three months. The water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities industry and the accommodation and food service activities industry had the highest percentages of businesses that had low confidence their business would survive the next three months, at 37% and 25%, respectively.
- 65% of adults travelled to work in the week ending 11th October
- Between 2 and 9 October 2020, total online job adverts increased from 61% to 63% of their 2019 average
- Healthcare and education each saw the largest increase by four percentage points, to 95% and 80% of their 2019 averages respectively
- The two regions with the highest volume of online job adverts compared with the 2019 average were the East Midlands (at 83% of their 2019 average) followed by the North East (76% of their 2019 average). London remained the region with the lowest volume of job adverts at 51% of their 2019 average.
- There were 182,000 new vacancies notified in the week to 21st September, up from the average of 150,000 in August, but 25% lower than the equivalent week last year.
- The overall level of vacancies at 13 September was 517,000.
- The devolved nations and the North East of England have the lowest ratio of vacancies per capita, while London and the South East of England have the highest ratios.
- However, London and the South East are also the regions that experienced the highest decline between March and September.
- Jobs have increased in all categories since July, apart from teaching; customer services; and legal related professions
- The level of vacancies now exceeds the levels reported in March in logistics and warehouse; manufacturing; and domestic help and cleaning
Vacancies continue a slow but steady recovery and now stand at about 54% of the usual level – in line with other data sources. Roles with the greatest improvement since 4th June include construction, production and manufacturing, chemical engineering, medical technician and sports.
London is seeing the weakest recovery.
Indeed have also started hosting their data on Github, so if you want to dig into data from a number of countries (presently I see Australia, Canada, UK, Ireland, US and Germany) then get them here.
They estimate that only workers on monthly wages between £625 and £987 would benefit. This is because people with monthly wages below £625 do not qualify for the JRB. And the JRB received by the employer for employees paid more than £987 a month is too small to make it economical to hold on to workers on a part-time basis.
There’s a wealth of claimant count, footfall and other data to give a series of analyses looking at how different areas have been impacted.