Jobs and applications rise as WaveTrackR’s March 2022 Recruitment Trends Report reveals a flurry of activity

After February’s drops in job and application numbers, it is heartening to see them both rise in March.

The WaveTrackR March 2022 Recruitment Trends Report recorded job numbers at a healthy 17% above February’s figures and applications at 13% higher than February’s. That makes March the best performing month of 2022 to date when it comes to both posted jobs and applications received.

Job activity in March was at its highest levels since November, a really positive sign following a relatively quiet few months. Applications are also back up – at 39% above the 2021 average, applications are higher than at any point during 2021 or 2022 to date. People seem to be on the move again, perhaps partly in search of better packages against a backdrop of the rapidly rising cost of living. We know that many employers are having to increase salaries to attract candidates and that rise in income will be incredibly attractive as we all start to tighten our belts in the face of soaring energy prices and rising inflation.   

As always, not every industry is experiencing the same trends, although the industries posting the most jobs and those receiving the highest numbers of applications remains unchanged from February. The only notable difference is Secretarial, PAs & Administration attaining a higher percentage of applications, meaning they have now overtaken IT & Internet as the industry receiving the second highest levels of applications, just behind Manufacturing. However, unlike Manufacturing and IT & Internet, Secretarial, PAs & Administration has not been posting similar levels of jobs. Engineering & Utilities has the same issue, meaning candidates in both industries are competing for a smaller percentage of jobs.

Given the high levels of applications received by Secretarial, PAs & Administration but a continuing shortage of jobs in the industry, it is perhaps unsurprising that, at 23, the industry received the highest average number of applications per job. Banking also received high levels of applications per job, as it did in February. Engineering & Utilities are experiencing similarly high numbers.

Health & Nursing and Public Sector have the opposite problem – a high number of jobs but a lack of applications. This is a historic, systemic issue that doesn’t look likely to be solved any time soon. Travel, Leisure & Tourism continues to suffer from low average numbers of applications per job – just two, the same number as February. Health & Nursing received an average of just 1 more application per job than Travel, Leisure & Tourism. New to the 5 industries receiving the lowest average numbers of applications per job are Not for profit & Charities and Marketing, Advertising & PR.

As for job board performance, it was a mixed bag in March. Yet again, jobs posted through Secs in the City received the highest average number of applications per job – further confirmation that the Secretarial, PAs & Administration sector has far too few jobs for the numbers of candidates searching for opportunities. Is this a result of a rise in automation of admin tasks?

Tech job board JobServe received the second highest average number of applications per job, followed by Totaljobs/Jobsite – the latter is the first time in recent months that a generic job board has received higher levels of applications per job than many niche job boards.

Niche job boards Caterer and Career Structure, focused, respectively, on the Catering and Engineering/Construction industries (both experiencing high applications, low jobs) received the next highest numbers of average applications per job.

When it comes to the best time to post jobs, things are on the up. At 24%, most jobs were posted on a Tuesday – a marked difference to the usual end of the week posting activity. As the majority of applications were sent on a Wednesday, this is exactly what we want to see – job posting times correlating with application times, ensuring jobs are fresh in front of candidate eyes at the time they are searching for jobs.

March has seen a positive increase in job activity for many industries, despite the uncertainties resulting from the war in Ukraine and rising business costs. It is, overall, an encouraging picture for recruitment.

Read more on our March 2021 report

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