We’ve changed our reporting from monthly to quarterly to give greater insights into trends across the year. Data from the Wave Quarter 2 Recruitment Trends Report has shown that jobs and applications are down on quarter 1 but were largely impacted by the bank and school holidays in April and May, with activity significantly increasing in June.
Both jobs and applications are down on the first quarter, with jobs in Q2 5% under Q1’s figures and applications 13% below.
The average application per job in Q2 was 18, compared to 21 in Q1. However, 18 is still higher than the figure for any quarter in 2022.
The industry posting the highest percentage of jobs in Q2 was IT & Internet, which is unchanged from the first quarter, although the percentage share did drop. The industry receiving the highest percentage of applications has changed from Q1, with Secretarial, PAs & Administration knocking IT & Internet from the top spot.
Most jobs were posted on a Wednesday in both quarters but the majority of applications were received on a Tuesday in both quarters – a gap of an entire week in between jobs being posted and applications being sent in, which is highly likely to affect the number of candidates who even see many of the jobs being posted.
June was a hive of activity in Q2, being the month that most jobs were posted and the majority of applications were received. Following two months packed with bank and school holidays, recruitment activity went up a gear in June.
ONS Labour Market Overview
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 utilised by the recruitment industry as a barometer of the state of the job market.
Job vacancies decreased by 79,000 on the quarter, falling to 1,051,000. This is the 11th consecutive quarterly decrease, possibly indicating continued uncertainty across industries. However, vacancies remain above pre-pandemic levels.
The employment rate is up on the previous quarter and higher than this time last year, rising to 76%. The number of people in employment also rose to a record high of 33,089,000 with increases in both employees and self-employed workers. Meanwhile, unemployment rose slightly on the quarter (driven by those unemployed for up to 12 months) but is unchanged on the year and remains below pre-pandemic rates.
The economic inactivity rate dropped on the quarter and on the year but is still above pre-pandemic rates. The decrease was largely driven by those who have family or home responsibilities, perhaps enabled to join or re-join the workforce because of flexible working opportunities or having to return to work because of financial strains caused by continued high inflation. Those inactive because of long-term sickness rose to a record high.
Job posting and applications per month
Both jobs and applications are up in June – the first time jobs have risen since March. At 16% higher than the 2022 monthly average, jobs were the highest they’ve been all year. Applications were 18% above the 2022 monthly average, which is the highest they reached in Q2 but lower than any month in Q1. The above average number of bank and school holidays falling in Q2, especially this year with the extra holiday for the King’s coronation, has clearly impacted activity in the quarter but it begins to ramp up again in June.
Industries with most jobs and applications
Perennially job-heavy IT & Internet posted the highest percentage of jobs in Q2 (19%) but Health & Nursing were only just behind with a 17% share. IT & Internet receives a similarly large percentage of applications, however Health & Nursing doesn’t even make it into the top 5 for applications, highlighting its historic but still very present skills shortage.
Education and Manufacturing are numbers 3 and 4 respectively for job posting and both make it into the top 5 for applications but Education received significantly less applications than the percentage of jobs posted and vice versa for Manufacturing.
With a 17% share, Secretarial, PAs & Admin received the highest percentage of applications in Q2, taking the top spot from IT & Internet who received the highest in Q1. As the industry doesn’t appear in the top 5 for jobs, this indicates a shortage of jobs compared to candidate demand – an issue shared by Engineering & Utilities.
Average application per job by industry
Banking received an average of 73 applications per job in Q2. Compared to the overall average of 18, that figure is quite astounding and is possibly reflective of the security many feel that a job in Banking offers. In turbulent times, job security is often a key candidate motivator.
Secretarial, PAs & Admin received an average of 40 applications per job which, given the industry received the highest percentage of applications but didn’t post a similarly high number of jobs, is perhaps unsurprising.
Recruitment Sales also received a high average number of applications per job, alongside legal and Marketing, Advertising & PR.
On the other end of the scale, Health & Nursing received an average of just 6 applications per job in Q2. Again, given the high percentage of jobs it posted but low application levels, this is unsurprising and serves to highlight the labour shortages that exist in the industry.
Education received an average of just 7 applications per job. Like Health & Nursing, Education is an industry struggling to recruit and facing regular strikes from workers unhappy with pay and funding.
Average application per job board
Niche job boards continue to offer the highest average number of applications per job – all of the top three highest are niche. IT-focused Jobserve came out on top with an average of 37 applications per job, Secretarial, PAs & Admin-focused Secs in the City were second with an average of 33, and Catering-focused Caterer.com received an average of 28 applications per job.
Totaljobs was just behind with 26 but Reed.co.uk and CV-Library received around a third or less of the niche boards with 11 and 10 applications per job respectively.
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