Following a January boom in applications as well as a rise in jobs, February saw a dip in both jobs and applications. The Wave February 2023 Recruitment Trends Report has shown slight decreases in both areas, although applications remain high.
Both jobs and applications fell in February from January. However, given the huge rises we saw in January, a dip of 8% in jobs and 9% in applications month on month isn’t hugely surprising.
The number of average applications per job remains the same as in January, at 16.
IT & Internet remains the most active industry for jobs but Manufacturing has just overtaken IT & Internet for highest applications.
Monday was the most active day for candidates to apply for jobs, with Monday also the most active day for recruiters to post jobs. Monday aligns perfectly with application activity but the data shows that a close second for job posting was a Friday. However, when Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the least active days for candidates, this could mean you miss out on applications.
In terms of the most active date in February to post jobs, that was mid-month, on 15th February. The highest number of applications, meanwhile, were received on the first day of the month, 1st February.
Job posting and applications per month
Jobs were 3% under the 2022 monthly average in February, certainly not the lowest they have been over the last few months but far lower than they were in February 2022. It is further proof that jobs are continuing to slow down, likely due to ongoing economic pressures.
Applications, meanwhile, were 20% over the 2022 monthly average – lower only than January 2023 (a bumper month for applications) over the entirety of the past year. Increasing applications seems to be a trend born from record numbers of people moving out of economic inactivity and into the job market. This has been driven by those in the 16-24 year age bracket and those in the 50-64 year age bracket who are joining or rejoining the job market. In other words, there’s been an influx of candidates entering the market and applying for jobs.
Industries with most jobs and applications
The industries posting most jobs and receiving most applications in February hasn’t changed from January but the applications percentage share has. Manufacturing just pipped IT & Internet to the post when it comes to applications percentages. Manufacturing received 15% of all applications to IT & Internet’s 14% share, which takes the industry from third highest for applications in January to the top spot in February. It remains in the top five highest for jobs, too, indicating a good balance of available candidates to jobs.
IT & Internet is still performing well for both jobs and applications, as is Education. Health & Nursing and Public Sector remain high for jobs but not applications, and Secretarial, PAs & Admin and Engineering are receiving a high percentage of applications but without a similar number of jobs.
Average application per job by industry
Average applications per job numbers are significantly lower than in January, when applications soared. With 30 apiece, Retail & Wholesale and Catering & Hospitality – 2 industries that have previously struggled with labour shortages – received the highest average number of applications per job. Management Consultancy was just behind with 28. Secretarial, PAs & Admin, which received amongst the highest percentages of applications yet didn’t make it onto the boards for high jobs, received an average of 25 applications per job. Manufacturing, the industry that received the highest percentage of applications across all industries, received an average of 22 applications per job.
At the other end of the scale, Not for Profit & Charities and Health & Nursing received an average of just 3 applications per job each. Education was also relatively low with 5, as was Media, New Media & Creative and Property, with 7 and 8 respectively. Something to note: Media, New Media & Creative are new to the low average application per job list.
Average application per job board
It’s another strong month for niche jobs boards. Caterer leads the board for average application per job numbers for the second consecutive month, with 26 to Secs in the City’s 23. JobServe is third highest, with 18 – 1 higher than Totaljobs, which tops the generic job board table yet again. Reed and CV Library follow with an average of 8 applications per job each.
ONS Labour Market Overview: February 2023
As a trusted source, the labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics are used to help inform a range of government policies and are heavily used by the recruitment industry as a barometer of the state of the job market.
The trend for decreasing vacancies is continuing, yet more people are in employment. The economic inactivity rate fell again as more people entered the job market, increasing both the unemployment and employment rates.
It found that in the 3 months ending December 2022, the South West had the highest employment rate (80.3%) and the North East had the lowest (71%). At 76.6%, Scotland experienced a record-high employment rate.
The highest unemployment rates were in the North East and London (both 4.5%) and the lowest was in the South West.
The highest economic inactivity rate was in Northern Ireland (26.3%) and the lowest was in the South West (18%).
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