COVID-19 Hitting The Employment Market

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COVID-19 Hitting The Employment Market
Jooble,international job search engine, shares its insights over March 2020

While the world is struggling with COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are looking for their ways to adjust and function in terms of strict lockdown rules implemented by the majority of the countries. It is commonly considered that such adjustment often leads to employee layoffs, vacations, wage cut, and the stronger quarantine rules are, the higher rises the unemployment rate.

US companies have already announced more than 1000 job cuts (source: “The Coronavirus Effect: Here Are The Jobs That Will Be Added And Lost”, 19/03/2020 Forbes). Worldwide predictions seem way more oppressive with the recent assessment done by the International Labour Organisation and foreseeing that “COVID-19 pandemic could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million” (source: ILO.org, 18/03/2020).

Nonetheless, so far it seems that the media predictions about the unemployment rise expand faster than employees are actually losing their jobs. At the same time, what we are undeniably dealing with over the past month is the loss of interest to the job search that is proven by more than 50% search drop on labor market within last 3 weeks.

There is straight codependency between the governmental decision of full 2- or 3-week lockdown and the decrease of job seekers amount over that time in all the countries hit by the pandemic.

 

In the meantime, though the number of active jobs (i.e. those opened on a particular calendar day) doesn’t remain the same in most European countries and the US, it decreases more gradually than the job search number itself.

Thus, despite the fact that only in the US the number of people claiming for unemployment benefits hit more than 3 million last week (source: Reuters, 26/03/2020), the main issue seem to be people stop looking for job opportunities way faster than the employers actually are cutting the jobs.

With a similar tendency, quarantine has not yet majorly affected employment categories breakdown from the employers’ point of view, with the biggest amount of vacant positions to be offered in the fields of project management, software engineering, business development and accountancy on the labour market of the UK and Canada. Quite similar, despite predictions that service sector would be the first to hit the storm of COVID-19 spread consequences, so far such jobs as sales and support representative, mechanic specialist, driver, warehouse operative and administrative worker in Italy, Spain, Germany and Russia still remain much-in-demand.

Though employers take gradual steps towards new workforce conditions, job seekers have adjusted more rapidly over the past two weeks. For instance, as French government called people who lost their jobs to join the agricultural sector and help farmers (source: “COVID-19: France calls unemployed to work in fields as borders stay closed” 25/03/2020), most frequent search requests on fr.jooble. over last fortnight are “seasonal picking” and “seasonal agriculture” with 54,723 of total requests.

Germans are also taking the direction towards agriculture. If previously top 3 search requests were so-called “mini jobs” and jobs for weekends, then over the last 14 days there were more than 29,280 searches for agricultural and harvest jobs, making them the most demanded.

Quarantine measures also influence how specifically users are searching for jobs. Thus, “cleaning” request in Spain shifts to “hospitals cleaning”, babysitting in Italy is substituted by delivery jobs, and “pharmacy delivery driver” that used to have 7,6 thousand requests in the UK over the 24/02-08/03 time frame, reached more than 30 thousand, and this is now second most demanded job since 16/03 on that market.

One of the important turns in the current situation was Amazon’s announcement of 100,000 new employees hired. Thus in UK, the number of requests for Amazon jobs increased almost 3 times (11,746 comparing to 4440), and 5.5 times in the US:

The last job trend which we will keep observing for quite some time is online jobs. Apart from common online teaching, tutoring and freelance, now people are actively searching for a way to adjust their skills to the new work pattern and in the US such requests as “online fashion stylist” or “online personal trainer” are getting more frequent. Still, the majority of the audience is searching for opportunities of literally any “online work from home” to find means for making a living.

With the above-mentioned examples, the situation on the employment market seems less complicated than widely described in media.
The important task for now is, instead of forcing the unemployment rise predictions, to show the opportunities which are either still opened, or will arise soon as we all find a way to live under lockdown conditions.

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