Job market in London hit hardest by coronavirus pandemic

London job marketNew analysis of online vacancy data suggests that parts of London are now the most economically at risk from the coronavirus pandemic. The analysis of the UK job market compares the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in each local area with the number of vacancies. It claims that the four areas with the highest number of unemployed per vacancy are London Boroughs – Lambeth, Haringey, Brent, and Barking and Dagenham – with more than forty claimants chasing each available job. More than a third of all areas with thirty or more claimants-per-vacancy are London Boroughs.

Overall, vacancies in London have fallen by nearly three fifths since the crisis began, from 200,000 to 85,000. At the same time, the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits has risen by 150 percent, from 185,000 to 460,000 – the highest rate of increase of any region in England.

As a consequence, London has gone from having more vacancies than claimants before the crisis began, to having on average more than five claimants chasing every vacancy in the capital.

The data also highlights huge disparities within the capital city itself, with Westminster topping the list of easiest places to find work, reflecting the large number of jobs still being created in the centre of London.  So helping people to access these jobs, particularly by ensuring that there is safe, affordable and accessible transport and childcare, will be critical in the recovery.

The analysis, by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and job search engine matches it with local claimant unemployment data published by the Office for National Statistics this week.

The UK job market has shown some signs of recovery this week. A notable 63,150 vacancies have been added to the UK job market since the 2nd June.  However, the total number of live vacancies now stands at 433,000, less than half of the number we saw in February, indicating a very long way to go in the recovery for the UK job market.

Looking at job types:

  • Private sector positions have made the biggest month on month recovery since the start of June after seeing vacancies plummet as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • IT jobs (which account for over 1 in ten vacancies) have seen vacancies increase by 18 percent since the 2nd June after experiencing losses of up to 60 percent in May.
  • Hospitality and catering positions have almost doubled since the industry opened its doors to customers again this month. Vacancies are up 48 percent since the start of June and continue to grow.
  • Public sector positions have been the most resilient to the coronavirus pandemic this year. Healthcare and nursing positions are only slightly lower than they were last month (-5 percent), while social work positions remain 23 percent behind their levels in June.
  • With over 14,000 open vacancies, The NHS is currently Britain’s top hiring organisation. Private sector hiring is being propped up by companies such as Amazon who are on the lookout for over 1,500 staff in London alone.