April update: how is the labour market doing?

Posted in: Labour Market Intelligence

About a month ago we gave an update on how the job market was doing.

We recently attended an excellent webinar hosted by Charlie Ball from Prospects Luminate and Rebecca Fielding from GradConsult to hear the latest on the job market and how employers are feeling. As we begin to see the easing of lockdown restrictions – we’re back with another update. Just what is going on in the labour market and what can we expect to see over the coming months?

What is happening right now

As we have seen throughout the pandemic, the number of job adverts is still at a lower level than normal. However, on 21 March 2021 online job adverts we at 94% of the average in February 2020. Employers are also reporting greater confidence in recruitment. So there are signs that confidence is growing and things are looking better.

However, this picture is sector dependent. Employer confidence is highest in healthcare, IT and business services. There are lots of opportunities in manufacturing, construction, transport/logistics, IT and science. Some employers in these sectors are dramatically increasing recruitment numbers. Additionally, there has been a lot of interest in public sector jobs, including teaching, which are much less impacted by economic issues. If you are interested in teaching check out our recent blog: teacher training – is it for me?.

In contrast, employers and vacancies in hospitality, finance and insurance and the arts among others are much less confident. Staff in some of these sectors are still on furlough and recruitment in these areas is unlikely to pick up until we see a greater opening up of the economy.

Pent up demand

As we look forward to the easing of restrictions and a return to a greater degree of normality over the coming months there is some indication that there may be a greater increase in vacancies. There are some predictions that this summer’s graduate recruitment round could be exceptionally busy.

Small and Medium Size Employers (SMEs) in particular are expected to have a large recruitment demand over the summer and into the autumn as confidence increases.

If you are on the hunt for a graduate job, keep positive, there are likely to be more opportunities on the horizon.

Immediate start

Employers also report that they are interested in more agile recruitment that is focused on filling immediate needs. Normally for graduate jobs we are used to a lot of recruitment happening in the autumn for jobs that start in the following summer/autumn. Whether this is a trend that is here to stay or not – it is too early to tell. But for now, if you are in our final year and looking for graduate jobs, it’s worth bearing in mind that more positions may be advertised with very immediate start dates.

Employers are also reporting that they are likely to continue to use virtual assessment centres over the next year. Again, we don’t know if this is a permanent change but it is worth ensuring you are confident with a virtual interview and assessment environment. Check out MyFuture for some top tips

Work experience

There has been a noticeable dip in the number of placements, internships and part-time work opportunities. Employers are well aware of this and are already looking at what they can do to support recruits over the next few years who may have less experience.

If you are on the look out for work experience, you may need to think outside the box and work a bit harder to gain experience. Consider virtual experiences, or shorter project-based opportunities. Take a look at our work experience guide to find out more about different options

Remote working

With the return to normality thoughts are turning to what the future of work looks like. Many employers are now stating their plans for changing to hybrid working models or making clear their plans to return to the office.

This change to virtual working means that some skills will take on a new value to employers. Skills such as remote collaboration, time management and online communication, and an understanding of how virtual communication platforms work, will be vital. Depending on how the roadmap pans out, you may end up starting a job virtually full-time or when things return to normal, you might not be working at your workplace five days a week.

Whether you are currently studying or on placement, you have probably acquired some of the skills that will be needed for this new environment. Start thinking about how you can give evidence of them in applications and interviews. Employer's attitudes to virtual working might also be something you want to research. Some companies have already made their stance on the subject clear, which might help inform whether they sound like somewhere you want to work.

We have some blogs that cover this topic in more detail:

Final thought

We hope you found this update useful. As with all of these updates, it is worth emphasising that the graduate labour market is slightly different to the wider job market. While things are certainly not at their pre-pandemic levels, generally graduate employment has not been as dramatically impacted as non-graduate employment. Additionally, unlike the 2008 recession, the effects of the pandemic seem to have been felt much quicker and the recovery also seems to be happening at a much faster rate.

There are still plenty of opportunities out there, but you may need to be a bit more flexible when considering your options.

If you need further support – we are here to help you at every stage of your career journey. Find resources, events, appointments and much more on MyFuture.

Source for labour market data and trends: Prospects Luminate

Posted in: Labour Market Intelligence


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