WaveTrackR report reveals soaring job activity in May

In another indication that the economy might be recovering at a faster rate than previously forecast, WaveTrackR’s May report has revealed that jobs rocketed in May, rising from 145% above the 2020 monthly average in April to a colossal 219% above that average – the highest they have reached all year.

Applications rose in May too, from 79% above the 2020 monthly average in April to +108%. As the economy further successfully reopens and the vaccination programme continues at pace, the jobs market is positively booming. Every sector now needs to plug the gaps in talent forced opened during lockdowns in order to ride the wave of continued economic strengthening. The issue will be ensuring there are the candidates to fill those gaps.

The speed at which jobs are increasing is astounding. The KPMG/REC Report on Jobs for May revealed that its job vacancies index accelerated at the fastest rate in 23 years. This was largely propelled by the services industries, which were permitted under the roadmap to begin reopening over the past couple of months. Pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels have seen a surge in business as people seek to socialise once more and spend some of the money saved after a year of lockdowns. This is great news for the Hospitality and Tourism sectors, which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. However, the report also revealed that staff availability declined at its fastest rate since 2017. Many businesses are struggling to recruit the staff they need to reopen fully, especially with covid-safe measures requiring extra work. 

Job posting and applications per month May 2021 Report

WaveTrackR data has shown Catering & Hospitality to have received amongst the lowest numbers of applications per job in May – incredible considering just a year ago scores of workers in Hospitality were being made redundant. The dual forces of Brexit and the pandemic have caused a recruiting crisis in Hospitality. The forced departure of European workers (heavily relied upon in the industry) thanks to the post-Brexit points system, combined with British workers that have pivoted into another sector that offers increased job security and more sociable hours, has resulted in a widening skills shortage in the sector.

Health & Nursing, too, is experiencing a skills shortage. This is historic but has been further impacted by both Brexit and the pandemic, the latter of which stretched the industry and its workers to close to breaking point. Just this week a House of Commons Health & Social Care Committee report looking into burnout amongst the NHS and social care workforce found that staff are so burnt out that it has become an “emergency” to the extent that the future of the health service is a risk. The industry posted a high number of jobs in May (it is amongst the top five industries for job posting) but didn’t receive a similarly high number of applications. In fact Health & Nursing received an average of just 2 applications per job in May.

Industries with most jobs and applications May 2021 Report

Education, however, continues to boom, with the industry both posting the highest number of jobs and receiving the greatest share of applications in May. A great sign that supply and demand appear to be consistent. Meanwhile, the Finance sector received soaring numbers of applications per job in May – a colossal average of 104 applications for every job posted. Banking and Accountancy also once more received a high number of applications per job. Are people turning to the financial services for job stability? Is the relocation of at least part of hundreds of financial services companies from London to EU cities leading to a lack of jobs to support the workforce?   

With jobs increasing by 31% in May from April and applications increasing by 16%, the overall picture is of a job market – and a wider economy – that is quickly recovering. Labour shortages will be the one sticking point and could hamper progress if not addressed by the government.    

Read more on our May 2021 report

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