Coronavirus: London job market hit hardest by Coronavirus pandemic ​

New analysis of online vacancy data shows that parts of London are now the most economically at risk from the coronavirus pandemic. The analysis compares the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits in each local area with the number of vacancies.  It finds 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%, 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 tables below sets out London boroughs:

Where 30 or more unemployed people are chasing each job – these areas are the hardest hit

Where there are fewer than 2 unemployed people chasing each job

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% since the 2nd June after experiencing losses of up to 60% in May.

Hospitality and catering positions have almost doubled since the industry opened its doors to customers again this month. Vacancies are up 48% 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%), while social work positions remain 23% 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.

Commenting on the figures, Andrew Hunter, Co-founder of Adzuna, said:

“It’s clear that the London job market has been hit hard by Covid-19. Employers are anxious and competition for the remaining jobs has reached record levels. As the government’s job retention scheme draws to a close, we expect competition to further intensify in London and beyond. It’s not all doom and gloom though and our analysts are optimistic that hiring rates will continue to increase over the summer.” 

Commenting on the figures, Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, said:

”Without doubt, this is now the toughest jobs market in a generation, and there are no signs yet of a significant recovery.  The government’s Plan for Jobs was welcome, but we now need to act fast to implement it.  For London in particular, we need to ensure that there is safe, accessible and affordable transport and childcare so that people can get to the jobs that are being created.  However with more job losses likely through the autumn and winter, if hiring doesn’t start to bounce back soon then we may yet need more measures to stimulate jobs growth.”

Rebecca McDonald, Senior Economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“As we begin to restart our economy, we must do all we can to support those who have been hit hardest by the economic consequences of coronavirus. London went into the pandemic with unacceptable levels of poverty and we need urgent action to prevent more families being left struggling to make ends meet. In the short-term, this means investing in social security to protect those who are searching for work from being pulled into poverty and debt.

“We also must not repeat the mistakes of the past by adopting an “any job will do” mentality. We need a good jobs recovery that reduces poverty, creates a more productive economy, and increases our resilience to future crises. To truly level up, the Government, City Hall and employers must all work together to create decent and secure jobs which give people access to the hours, pay, rights and benefits they need to break free from poverty.

Areas with 30 or more unemployed people per vacancy in London:

Local AuthorityRegionJune 20March 20Change
Barking and DagenhamLondon41.68.333
Waltham ForestLondon31.25.825
Tower HamletsLondon30.85.925

Areas with the fewest unemployed people per vacancy in London:

Local AuthorityRegionJune 2020March 2020Mar-Jun
Richmond upon ThamesLondon7.51.5411%
Kensington and ChelseaLondon3.22.337%

Author: Editorial Team

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