Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot
New job vacancies across the UK are down 70 per cent compared to this time last year, data has shown, highlighting the uphill struggle workers face finding new employment during the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures from the Institute of Employment Studies show the overall level of vacancies stood at 361,000, but levels remain lower by more than 450,000 posts than before the crisis began and 650,000 less jobs available than at this time last year.
Between January to March this year, there were 796,000 vacancies but this slumped by almost half a million to just 313,000 between April and June.
This comes in the wake of Office for National Statistics figures which show there are 649,000 less people paying tax between March and June - all pointing towards an uphill task facing unemployed people looking to reenter the job market.
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In the week up to July 5 there were 110,000 new vacancies - a modest increase on 90,000 the week before, but not enough to suggest the easing of lockdown has had a significant impact on hiring.
Across all sectors, there has been a quarterly decrease in jobs from April to June 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Contributing most to decline includes wholesale, retail trade and repair of motor vehicles” industrial sector, down 92,000 (70%) and the “accommodation and food service activities” industrial sector, down by 78,000 (91.1%), both record quarterly falls.
Danielle Skinner, 23, has been for 10 interviews since May. She was made redundant from her digital marketing role in July after being on furlough and has applied for more than 70 jobs.
She is now living with her boyfriend and his family as she applies for a variety of different roles, including for a receptionist job which had more than 200 applicants.
Following an interview for a digital marketing company, she told ITV News: “It was really good, I did enjoy it so much, it sounds like I’d be able to do some really good work.”
She added: “There was about 100 people applying for the role and she minimised it down to seven so I was really happy to feel like I am good enough for the role and I am qualified enough. If you can’t stay optimistic what’s the point. You’ve got to keep that energy and that’s what I plan to do.”
For recruiters, the surge in new applicants has been a challenge.
Alex Platt, director at staff.com in Manchester, said they have seen hundreds of applicants applying for jobs.
He said: “A lot of the applicants we’re getting, and we’re getting up to 100 per day, a lot of these candidates are vastly overqualified for the jobs which from a clients perspective is questioning their commitment.
“We’re seeing lots of people with a lot more experience than they need applying. Will they be there once the market changes?
“That’s something we’re struggling to deal with as an agency as there’s so many more candidates than we’re used to.
“It’s a challenging market for us, it’s not become easier just because there’s more candidates on the market, it’s all about filtering and trying to find that best one from a huge number of candidates.”
Figures seen by ITV News highlight the harsh reality facing those in the hospitality sector - one of the industries hardest hit by the lockdown.
While there has been a huge rise in the number of applicants for roles, there has been a drastic fall in the number of roles available.
In February, there were 18,000 new hospitality jobs posted on caterer.com. At the lowest point, the number of jobs dropped to under 1,000 during May, although there has now been a steady increase to more than 2,000 jobs posted on the website in June.
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The website generated 764,000 applications with an average of 42 applications per job in February 2020.
At its worst in May, this dropped to 102,000 applications to hospitality jobs, with each role generating an average of 121 applications per role.
Kathy Dyball, the Head of Marketing and spokesperson for hospitality focused job-site, Caterer.com, said: “This is simply a reflection of the behaviour of the market and in June they are starting to see a pick up again, with 183,000 applications generated, 16,000 new profiles/CVs added to the database. Each job generated an average of 91 applications.
“Through July we expect to see an ongoing rise in the number of jobs posted, but also a rise in the number of candidate profiles/CVs and applications too, as the market continues to reopen.”