WaveTrackR May 2022 Recruitment Trends Report reveals sluggish increases in jobs and applications

In welcome news following worrying predictions that businesses will begin to struggle due to inflation, rapidly rising energy costs and ongoing supply chain issues, the WaveTrackR May 2022 Recruitment Trends Report showed that jobs increased by 10% from April and climbed to 15% above the 2021 monthly average.

Applications rose too, though only by 6% from April. Application numbers had generally been improving up until April but we may now be seeing the affects of the war in Ukraine and soaring prices in people’s willingness to move jobs. Market uncertainty is very effective at putting the brakes on a job search, leaving people craving security in the jobs they are already in.

Rises in both jobs and applications is undoubtedly positive though. Indeed, given the struggles SMEs are currently experiencing as a result of soaring inflation, rising energy costs, and global shortages of a wide range of goods, any rise in jobs is positive. We may not be seeing the dizzy heights they reached in 2021 (May’s figures are still less than half those witnessed in March 2022) but, given candidate shortages, that is no bad thing. Low candidate availability has been one of the greatest challenges for recruiters over the past year so, again, any increase in applications is a boon.

Applications rose to 21% above the 2021 monthly average in May – higher than April’s figures but lower than any other month in 2022. Applications therefore remain sluggish but by no means as low as they were in 2021. We’re facing an interesting summer, heading into an autumn with even higher energy prices and, according to the Bank of England, with inflation possibly rising to up to a peak of 10% once the energy price cap is lifted in October. Businesses – especially SMEs – will undoubtedly be affected so we can assume that hiring plans will also be impacted to some degree. It’s very much a ‘watch this space’ scenario.

Not much has changed from April in terms of the industries posting the most jobs and those receiving the highest percentage of applications. IT & Internet continues to dominate in both areas, taking the crown for most active industry in May. This is a great sign considering the rocky start to 2022 the Technology sector has had. LinkedIn News has reported a loss in market value of tech stocks in the first quarter and lay-offs in both venture capital-backed firms and tech giants such as Netflix and Paypal. Meanwhile, other large tech firms such as Meta, Uber and Snap have slowed hiring. The tech jobs market is only just being hit so it may be that we start to see a difference in figures over the next few months. Again, watch this space for updates!

Health & Nursing and Public Sector are still on a hiring drive but lack the application figures needed to fill jobs, with both industries also receiving incredibly low average numbers of applications per job. The average across all sectors is 11; Health & Nursing and Public Sector received 3 and 5, respectively. Engineering & Utilities is facing the opposite problem, with a high percentage of applications but comparatively low numbers of jobs – it received an average of 16 applications per job in May. Education and Manufacturing have again posted relatively high numbers of jobs but also received healthy numbers of applications, suggesting supply is keeping up with demand. Secretarial, PAs & Admin, which featured on the high applications list in April is this month on both charts, indicating that an uptick in jobs is helping to meet demand from candidates. Although the sector is still receiving a relatively high average number of applications per job, the rising numbers of jobs it’s posting has meant that it has gone from receiving an average of 19 applications per job in April to an average of 15 in May.

There has been a huge increase in demand for Management Consultancy jobs, with an average of 21 applications per job in May. Financial Services jobs are also in demand, with Accountancy and Finance receiving an average of 20 and 16 applications per job, respectively. On the other end of the scale, the five industries receiving the lowest average number of applications per job remains unchanged from April. Travel, Leisure & Tourism received an average of just 2 applications per job, largely due to cutbacks in the workforce following COVID-related redundancies which they are now struggling to begin to replenish as tourism picks up again. This has become a real issue in some areas of the sector – you only have to look at the news to see the impact it’s having on the airline industry. Health & Nursing’s historic challenges around staff shortages continue and Human Resources, Public Sector & Services, and Not for Profit & Charities all also received low average numbers of applications per job again this month.     

WaveTrackR’s job board data is always interesting. The 3 job boards receiving the highest average number of applications per job are all niche boards, with Caterer serving the Catering & Hospitality industry, Secs in the City specialising in Secretarial, PAs and Admin jobs, and JobServe traditionally IT & Internet focused – all sectors with high levels of applications but also relatively healthy job numbers. Career Structure is a new entry on this chart, another niche board but one which caters towards the Construction and Engineering industries. This proves yet again that industries with niche roles can receive fantastic results from niche job boards. Jobsite + Totaljobs, CV-Library and Reed all scored highly too, though most (other than Jobsite + Totaljobs) with around half the average application per job numbers than the niche job boards.

Every recruiter wants to know when the best time to post their jobs is and WaveTrackR’s May data shows that recruiters and candidates appear to now be in sync. The highest percentage of jobs were posted on a Tuesday and most applications were received on Mondays and Tuesdays, which is really positive. It means that jobs are getting in front of candidates when they’re actively searching.

Read more on our May 2022 report

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