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What's the latest in the labour market?

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

26 June 2020

Looking for work at any time can be daunting, but with COVID-19 making an unwelcome entrance, we would not blame students for feeling more nervous about it. Here’s some positive news on what’s happening in the jobs market...

It's still relatively early days and we will not know the full extent of the impact the pandemic will have on our economy and labour market until we start to face post-COVID times. However, we are keeping our ear close to the ground, listening to what employers local to us are saying and reading up on the latest articles so that we can pass this onto you.

Even in 'normal times' it is important for you to engage with the latest happenings within the industry you hope to enter into because employers will be looking for candidates that take a wide interest in the context in which their company and job operates. Labour market information can also keep you informed of where there is demand for certain roles and what skills are required, therefore helping you to prepare for your career planning and job search.

Here's an overview of the latest news we have and some tips of what you could do to stay on top of the game.

The headlines

  • The general labour market has been hit hard by COVID-19, and those who will be impacted the most by this are likely to be those entering the jobs market for the first time (Resolution Foundation).
  • Graduates come out better off than those trying to enter the market with lower qualifications, with plans for graduate recruitment down by 12% and non-graduate recruitment by 32% (ISE).
  • Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) are needing to focus on business survival more so than large employers, which will affect their recruitment plans. So keep an eye on large scale graduate schemes.
  • Roles within the engineering and built-environment sectors have seen some of the hardest hits in terms of recruitment plans for the next year – however still a more positive picture for graduate recruits than non-graduates.
  • Construction and manufacturing industries saw some of the biggest numbers of employers furloughing staff (81% and 82% respectively) which is likely to be the reason for decreased recruitment plans- the focus will be getting current staff back to work and business survival (as with most SME companies).
  • Health, education, social work and IT jobs account for just over half the amount of job vacancies being advertised.
  • Accounting and finance, sales and engineering have shown some early signs of starting to pick up in number of job vacancies.

The graph on this page, produced by Institute for Employment Studies, shows the immediate impact of COVID-19 on new job vacancies and how over the last few weeks we are starting to see gradual increase again. We are yet to know whether this is for the long term or a seasonal pattern (comparing to the line for 2019).

Graph produced by Institute for Employment Studies, showing the impact of COVID-19 on new job vacancies from February 2020 and a gradual, sustained increase since May 2020

Unless you’re looking to go into nursing or becoming a social worker, you may be looking at the headlines with some trepidation, but take confidence in knowing that employers appear to have learned some important lessons from the last financial crash of 2008 – for the most part student and graduate employers have not reacted rashly to COVID-19, they are taking a measured approach and not making firm decisions on recruitment until more of the picture unfolds.

Luckily our students at ARU have a dedicated Employability Service full of knowledge and hard-working people who want to see you succeed.

We know that employers are still looking for students to apply for placement and internship opportunities as well as for graduates to fill a position in their company – including adapting roles to work from home. Some of these positions have been promoted directly to you on our jobs board. Make sure to take a look.

For answers to job search questions get in touch via Live Chat* or email [email protected]. We will be doing our best to help you stay up to date. Keep an eye on our Know Your Market page on the Career Centre for updated information as well as tips on what you could be doing to help you have that edge over other candidates.

By Jodie Elwis, Careers Information & Systems Lead

*Live Chat is available 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-4.30pm on Fridays on the Career Centre.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.