Labour Market Insights, 3 June 2020

After a week off for half-term relaxing in the sunshine, I’m back with the latest labour market insights! This week I talk about what’s happening in the UK jobs market, how employers are planning to engage with students up until Christmas and reflect on some of the intel we’re getting from some of the recruiters we talk to every day.

First, an update on the jobs market. Job vacancies across the UK have fallen further this week. If you make a comparison between 15 March 2020 and 17 May 2020, Adzuna was listing half a million fewer opportunities. Between March and April, 70% more people were claiming unemployment benefit (Source: Institute for Employment Studies, 17 May 2020) and it’s looking like over 3 million people are unemployed. On top of this, 8.4 million people were on furlough last week, which has risen to 8.7 million this week. The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development Labour Market Outlook survey results show that the proportion of employers intending to make redundancies over the next few months has increased from 16% to 21%.

Second, it’s looking like the vast majority of employers will want to engage with students online and virtually, rather than face-to-face, over the summer and into the autumn term. I’m beginning to see organisations offer certifications for online employability programmes taking place over the summer, so that’s certainly something for you to undertake if you have time and the inclination. It’ll be interesting to see how employers will try to distinguish any similar online offerings: will this be the summer that gamification really comes to the fore? I expect this online only approach to extend to job interviews and assessment processes as well, as and when organisations who’ve paused hiring begin to recruit again.

Third, I heard from a colleague within the University of Reading careers service that one of the large consultancy firms might be looking to take on more year-long placement students in the future. Although this might lead to a reduction in the number of graduate opportunities, the indication was that overall headcount across early talent recruitment would remain broadly at the same level as previous years. It’s worth keeping an eye out for cash-rich organisations making some good value acquisitions which might open up job opportunities within deal advisory and M&A at investment banks.

Finally, my colleague Jack sent me this tweet from one of our agency contacts, Rebecca Fielding from GradConsult, reminding us to stay positive at this time!

Rebecca Fielding tweet:
Which could also read '75% of all entry level jobs for graduates will remain even in a global pandemic and huge economic recession'. The Graduate labour market remains one of the most resilient and in demand segments of the labour market.  
Retweet of:
ISE tweet
Entry-level jobs for students set to be cut by a quarter

Matthew Searle

Head of Relationship Management, Henley Careers & Professional Development