Labour Market Insights, 11 June 2020

There’s been various phrases to describe what’s happened to recruitment over the past three months. You might have heard me refer to it as a “giant pause”, whilst various recruiters I’ve spoken to have said to me that their hiring is “in hibernation”, “fallen off a cliff” or “in the deep freeze”.

Of course, there have been a few exceptions: hiring for roles in health and social care has been strong, as well as for some part-time roles in retail and distribution. Plus the tech sector has mostly held up okay. Broadly, though, recruitment has been in steep decline.

This week, though, there might be some reasons to believe that we’re beginning to turn a corner:

  1. One of our partners in China have asked us to promote a face-to-face recruitment event in July for those who want to work in China after they graduate.
  2. An organisation in the travel industry who’ve furloughed a few placement students this year have asked us to advertise a 12-month year-in-industry role which will start from September.
  3. During the fourth week of May, total job vacancies rose for the first time since the first week of March.

A word of caution, though. Gradual changes to the Flexible Furlough Scheme from August onwards might mean more job losses between then and 31 October, and beyond, so the UK labour market may not recover to pre-COVID-19 levels for some months yet.

Perhaps some new phrases to describe hiring right now might be “tentatively coming out of hibernation”, “beginning to slowly climb up a steep cliff” or “in the fridge at the coldest section at the back”.


Matt Searle, Head of Relationship Management

Henley Careers & Professional Development