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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Jobs Recovery Tracker: Job adverts reach new post-lockdown high in first week of August

Press releases

  • Total job postings in the UK up to 1.10 million in the first week of August
  • Almost 126,000 new job postings, the highest since the crisis began
  • Job postings grow in all but five counties/unitary authorities in early August
  • Four of the top ten hiring hotspots in the UK are in Northern Ireland
  • Strong rise in job adverts for gardeners, debt collectors, construction workers, LGV drivers and childminders

In the first week of August, the number of job adverts in the UK rose to the highest weekly total since lockdown began. The latest analysis by the REC found that there were 1.10 million active job postings in the week starting 3 August, up from 1.04 million in the previous week. However, this remains well below the 1.35 million job postings active before lockdown in the first week of March.

Last week also saw the highest number of new job postings since lockdown began, with almost 126,000 adverts posted between 3-9 August. The previous high was the first week of June, with 112,000 new postings.

The strong growth in job adverts spanned almost the entire country. While the largest weekly increase was in Redbridge & Waltham Forest (+23.7%), four of the top ten hiring hotspots were in Northern Ireland – Derry City & Strabane (+11.5%), Ards & North Down (+11.0%), Fermanagh & Omagh (+9.2%) and Causeway Coast & Glens (+8.7%). As a whole, Northern Ireland saw a weekly rise in job postings of 6.3%.

In fact, there were only five counties/unitary authorities where the number of job postings fell compared to the previous week – with the biggest falls in Swindon (-11.5%) and North Ayrshire (-15.6%).

Just as Britain was hit by a heatwave, there was a notable rise in job adverts for gardeners (+24.8%). There have also been further increases in postings for construction workers (+15.8%), painters and decorators (+14.1%), bricklayers (+13.3%) and LGV drivers (+14.0%). Demand has also increased for childminders (+12.1%) and playworkers (+16.9%).

However, with many people falling on hard times because of the pandemic, there has also been a rise in adverts for debt collectors (+20.9%).

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“The latest economic data tell a stark story of the scale of the lockdown recession – but now it is all about how quickly we recover. Many firms will face cash struggles in September and October, so redundancies will be with us for months to come and unemployment will rise. But a recovery is underway, as today’s tracker data shows. Construction sites have re-opened, logistics companies are dealing with high demand, and with people spending more time at home, many have been looking to spruce up their house and gardens. The increase in adverts for childminders and playworkers is interesting and perhaps linked to more people returning to offices and workplaces in the near future.

“It’s important to remember that we are not just passengers in all of this – we have tools available that can minimise the unemployment increase that is coming. Absent a major second wave of the virus, Government needs to make sure all its actions boost the recovery rather than put the brakes on. Supporting retention and hiring by lowering employers’ National Insurance would be a good start. There should also be a greater sense of urgency on things like the private sector job search support scheme announced by the Chancellor in July. And of course we need skills reform and a Brexit deal that helps firms to trade freely with Europe.”

Matthew Mee, Director, Workforce Intelligence at Emsi said:

“This week has been a particularly rough one in economic terms, firstly with the news that there are 730,000 fewer people on payroll than in March, followed by the release of data showing that GDP has fallen by 22.1% in the first half of the year. In the midst of what is clearly a very difficult situation, the data revealed by the Jobs Recovery Tracker does at least give some glimmers of light. 

“Firstly, the fact that there has been an uptick in postings across the country is an encouraging sign that some industries and businesses are coming out of what was an essentially frozen state, and are seeing sufficient demand to warrant taking on new employees. Secondly, it is interesting that most of the growth has come in blue collar occupations, such as painters and decorators, bricklayers, and construction workers. Jobseekers Allowance data released in June indicated that the biggest rise in claimants was in exactly these sorts of jobs. For instance, Elementary construction occupations, Construction operatives, Construction trades and Construction and building trades saw a rise of 140,000 claimants from March to June. Although we don’t yet know if this trend will continue, what today’s Jobs Recovery Tracker data suggests is that there may be some more positive signs for those in these sorts of skilled trades and low skilled jobs than the JSA data would suggest.”


Notes to Editors

  1. The Jobs Recovery Tracker is produced by the REC in partnership with Emsi, using their Job Postings Analytics data which is harvested from tens of thousands of job boards. Data was harvested between 27 July and 9 August 2020. For more details, see the attached annexes which, in league table format, detail the top and bottom ten county/unitary authorities for growth in job postings and growth by occupation type.
  2. ‘Active’ job postings are those which were live online during the specified time period. ‘New’ job postings are those which were added to the active stock during the specified time period.
  3. The Jobs Recovery Tracker will be published every two to three weeks to compliment the REC’s bank of surveys including the Report on Jobs and JobsOutlook, which provide a picture of recruitment activity and employers’ confidence and hiring intentions.

For more information and interview enquiries, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2192 or Outside of regular office hours, please call 07702 568 829.

The REC is the voice of the recruitment industry, speaking up for great recruiters. We drive standards and empower recruitment businesses to build better futures for great candidates and themselves. We are champions of an industry which is fundamental to the strength of the UK economy.

Emsi’s goal is to help local, regional and national economies function more effectively through helping people make better decisions relating to the world of work. To achieve this, we employ a team of expert economists, data scientists and software programmers to build a dataset that is highly granular, extremely robust, and easy to use. Emsi was founded in Idaho in 2000 and now serves clients in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Find out more at


Top ten and bottom ten county/unitary authorities for growth in job postings:

County/unitary authority Unique active job postings, 3-9 August Change in active job postings, 27 July-2 August to 3-9 August
Redbridge & Waltham Forest 8,524 +23.7%
Derry City & Strabane 1,076 +11.5%
Ards & North Down 564 +11.0%
Calderdale & Kirklees 4,916 +9.8%
South & West Derbyshire 4,493 +9.8%
East Lothian & Midlothian 2,077 +9.6%
Fermanagh & Omagh 595 +9.2%
Essex Haven Gateway 5,295 +9.1%
Greater Manchester South West 5,773 +8.9%
Causeway Coast & Glens 462 +8.7%
Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire 2,416 +1.5%
Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire 5,108 +1.2%
Isle of Anglesey 313 +0.6%
Bournemouth & Poole 4,888 +0.2%
North Lanarkshire 1,624 +0.1%
Argyll & Bute 1,523 -0.2%
Mid & East Antrim 458 -1.7%
East Ayrshire 749 -3.7%
Swindon 4,262 -11.5%
North Ayrshire 911 -15.6%


Top ten and bottom ten occupations by growth in job postings

Occupation Unique active job postings, 3-9 August Change in active job postings, 27 July-2 August to 3-9 August
Gardeners and landscape gardeners 1,562 +24.8%
Debt, rent and other cash collectors 445 +20.9%
Playworkers 470 +16.9%
Elementary construction occupations 3,757 +15.8%
Painters and decorators 1,392 +14.1%
Large goods vehicle drivers 4,542 +14.0%
Bricklayers and masons 850 +13.3%
Vehicle valeters and cleaners 323 +12.5%
Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c. 5,184 +12.2%
Childminders and related occupations 2,638 +12.1%
Restaurant and catering establishment managers and proprietors 2,098 -0.2%
Authors, writers and translators 3,373 -0.3%
Credit controllers 1,886 -0.4%
Publicans and managers of licensed premises 444 -0.4%
Legal secretaries 2,350 -0.5%
Postal workers, mail sorters, messengers and couriers 1,234 -0.6%
Merchandisers and window dressers 1,452 -1.1%
Pharmaceutical technicians 1,873 -1.2%
Hairdressers and barbers 1,429 -1.8%
Dental practitioners 1,271 -4.6%


Key indicators occupations

Occupation Unique active job postings, 3-9 August Change in active job postings, 27 July-2 August to 3-9 August
Electricians and electrical fitters 9,236 +6.7%
Large goods vehicle drivers 4,542 +14.0%
Sales and retail assistants 10,305 +4.1%
Waiters and waitresses 1,584 +7.8%
Bar staff 2,222 +7.4%
Chefs 13,010 +5.9%
Programmers and software development professionals 44,422 +2.3%
Chartered and certified accountants 2,968 +1.7%
Cleaners and domestics 16,203 +2.3%
Security guards and related occupations 7,964 +1.8%
Primary and nursery teaching education professionals 27,770 +0.7%
Care workers and home carers 40,339 +8.0%
Nurses 65,619 +5.7%
Fitness instructors 3,668 +6.9%
Hairdressers and barbers 1,429 -1.8%