Both jobs and applications fell in December, the first time they have simultaneously fallen since April. However, the final month of the year is notoriously slow as businesses start to wind down activity and candidates take a break, ready to begin the search again in the new year.
Both jobs and applications fell in December, the first time they have simultaneously fallen since April. However, the final month of the year is notoriously slow as businesses start to wind down activity and candidates take a break, ready to begin the search again in the new year. A reduction in both jobs and applications was expected. Whether they pick up again in January will be the real test as to the state of the job market as we enter 2022.
Average applications per job remain unchanged for the third consecutive month.
Interestingly, we have a correlation in the day most jobs are posted and the day most applications are received – both mid-week, on a Wednesday.
Job posting and applications by month
At 301% over the 2020 monthly average, jobs reached their lowest level since July. Cause for concern? Unlikely. This is a seasonal trend as businesses put a pause on recruitment efforts as the year wraps up and employees take holiday. Applications also dropped, to 110% over the 2020 monthly average from 145% over that average in November. This is likely to be both as a result of fewer jobs on the market and as candidates, too, take a break and time to reflect before resuming their job search in January.
Job posting and applications by week
The weekly graph highlights the pause in activity between Christmas and New Year, when businesses slow right down or shut altogether over the holiday season. Jobs flip-flopped in the first few weeks of the month, falling to 281% above the 2020 weekly average and then soaring to 488% above that average – the highest jobs have reached all year. They then fall again and drop to a barely active 3% in the final week of the year.
Application numbers weren’t quite so dramatic but the trajectory across the month was similar. What the weekly graph proves is that the dip in both monthly job and application figures for December is wholly down to the relative inactivity over the holiday period.
Industries with most jobs and applications in December 2021
The industries posting the highest numbers of jobs and those receiving the largest percentages of applications remains unchanged from November, with only the order changing slightly. Education increased its job posting percentage from 12% to 18%, taking the lead from Public Sector which posted the second-highest numbers of jobs. Education received amongst the highest numbers of applications, suggesting that demand is being met. Public Sector and Health & Nursing are again missing from the industries receiving the highest amount of applications but place amongst those posting the highest numbers of jobs.
Manufacturing and Engineering received the highest numbers of applications (alongside Education) but aren’t posting a similar volume of jobs, an indication that there still aren’t the jobs to meet the demands of candidate numbers in those industries.
Average application per job by industry in December 2021
Perhaps unsurprisingly given they received amongst the highest numbers of applications this month yet without placing highly for job posting, Manufacturing and Engineering jointly received the second-highest average applications per job in December. What is surprising is Transport & Logistics taking the top spot – at an average of 29 applications per job, it received the highest average number of applications per job of any industry in December. Has the recent, much-publicised recruitment drive in the industry succeeded in narrowing the skills gap?
Health & Nursing and Public Sector continue to receive low numbers of applications per job, tallying with the high jobs and low applications recorded. Travel, Leisure & Tourism makes a new entry onto the board, receiving an average of just 4 applications per job. The question that must be asked is how many in the Travel sector (in particular) have now permanently switched careers in the face of continued uncertainty in the industry?
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