Skip to main content
Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Jobs Recovery Tracker: Recovery slows as virus returns – adverts fall for first time since July

Press releases

  • 1.28 million job adverts in the UK last week – down by 1.0% from the previous week
  • 128,000 new job adverts posted – 7.6% fewer than the previous week
  • Hospitality sector hit hard, with notable drop in adverts for bar staff, waiters and chefs
  • Biggest fall in postings in the East Midlands, particularly in parts of Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire

Last week saw the first fall in the number of active job adverts in the UK since July, according to figures from the REC. There were 1.28 million active job postings in the week of 5-11 October, a drop of 1.0% from the previous week.

There were 128,000 new job adverts posted last week, a fall of 7.6% from the previous week (28 September-4 October). However, there are still significantly higher numbers of new job adverts being posted than during the spring and summer – there were 33% more new postings last week than in the second week of July, three months earlier.

The hospitality sector was hit particularly hard last week, with significant decreases in active job adverts for bar staff (-17.3%), waiters and waitresses (-10.8%), chefs (-7.2%) and catering and bar managers (-6.7%). The number of active job postings for hospitality occupations fell most notably in Northern Ireland (-16.7%) and Scotland (-9.7%) – this comes as restaurants and pubs were closed across the central belt of Scotland in a bid to tackle rising COVID-19 cases.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“With Covid cases rising and further restrictions being imposed, a pause in the strong trend of recovery we have seen over the summer is perhaps not a surprise, though it’s deeply unwelcome.

“While this change is a concern, we expect it to be a pause on the path to recovery rather than a return to the jobs market of the first lockdown. Businesses have made a lot of progress on making workplaces Covid-secure and on effective home working – so hiring and onboarding online is becoming much more common.

“We do need to ensure that the right package of economic support is in place to help the regions and sectors hit by local lockdowns – including supporting temporary workers and the supply chains that support them.”

There were also notable falls in job adverts for bus and coach drivers (-6.8%) and air conditioning and refrigeration engineers (-6.2%). Meanwhile, there was a rise in postings for health roles such as podiatrists (+33.0%), medical technicians (+8.5%) and speech and language therapists (+7.2%).

This fall in active job postings was seen across almost every region and nation of the UK. On a regional level, the largest decrease was in the East Midlands (-3.9%), and was particularly pronounced in areas like North Northamptonshire (-12.6%) and South Nottinghamshire (-8.6%). There were also notable drops in parts of Northern Ireland like Ards & North Down (-8.7%) and Derry City & Strabane (-5.5%).

The only region which saw a rise in active job postings was north-west England, at +0.6%. In Liverpool the number of job adverts fell slightly (-0.6%) last week, before Tier 3 lockdown restrictions were introduced.

Matthew Mee, Director, Workforce Intelligence at Emsi said:

“It’s been a slightly unusual couple of weeks on the data front with some unsurprisingly mixed indicators coming out of the various formal channels due to different reporting periods. Whilst ONS cited overall UK vacancy levels had increased again in the July to September period (from 436,000 to 488,000), we saw rising unemployment figures yet again this month to 4.5% (from June to August), indicating that the transition from the CJRS to the JSS may be starting to translate to job losses.

“Our last 2 weeks of job postings data (which is a more recent market indicator) suggest a slowdown in overall, UK-wide recruitment marketing activity. However, notably a number of ‘household’ retailers have more ‘Active’ postings than for the same period in the previous 2 years and the key worker sectors are still very active. It’s also worth highlighting that only Scotland and Wales saw an increase in total ‘New’ postings over the period, with a 5.77% and 5.45% rise respectively.”


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 28 September and 11 October 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 complement 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, 5-11 October Change in active job postings, 28 September-4 October to 5-11 October
Moray 956 +3.4%
Mid Lancashire 56,951 +2.9%
North Lanarkshire 2,287 +2.5%
Mid Ulster 1,434 +2.4%
Falkirk 1,328 +2.2%
East Ayrshire 876 +2.2%
East Lothian & Midlothian 2,116 +2.2%
Isle of Wight 1,274 +1.8%
Dumfries & Galloway 4,695 +1.6%
Redbridge & Waltham Forest 10,551 +1.4%
Peterborough 4,827 -4.9%
Argyll & Bute 1,526 -5.5%
Derry City & Strabane 1,432 -5.5%
Clackmannanshire 3,334 -5.9%
West Dunbartonshire 576 -6.3%
South Nottinghamshire 1,745 -8.6%
Ards & North Down 679 -8.7%
Isle of Anglesey 401 -10.5%
Hounslow & Richmond upon Thames 8,482 -10.7%
North Northamptonshire 4,685 -12.6%


Top ten and bottom ten occupations by growth in job postings:

Occupation Unique active job postings, 5-11 October Change in active job postings, 28 September-4 October to 5-11 October
Podiatrists 572 +33.0%
Health professionals n.e.c. 2,568 +12.9%
Medical and dental technicians 1,510 +8.5%
Speech and language therapists 2,444 +7.2%
Debt, rent and other cash collectors 538 +6.5%
Financial administrative occupations n.e.c. 10,352 +5.7%
Tyre, exhaust and windscreen fitters 362 +4.9%
Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants 1,979 +4.8%
Assemblers and routine operatives n.e.c. 1,548 +4.6%
Human resources and industrial relations officers 21,376 +4.1%
Business sales executives 24,319 -5.4%
Estate agents and auctioneers 5,878 -6.1%
Cleaning and housekeeping managers and supervisors 2,609 -6.1%
Air conditioning and refrigeration engineers 1,083 -6.2%
Catering and bar managers 2,517 -6.7%
Bus and coach drivers 1,154 -6.8%
Chefs 14,467 -7.2%
Assemblers (electrical and electronic products) 318 -7.3%
Waiters and waitresses 1,417 -10.8%
Bar staff 1,794 -17.3%


Key indicator occupations

Occupation Unique active job postings, 5-11 October Change in active job postings, 28 September-4 October to 5-11 October
Metal working production and maintenance fitters 18,031 -1.0%
Carpenters and joiners 4,091 -0.9%
Large goods vehicle drivers 6,364 -3.0%
Sales and retail assistants 13,956 +1.6%
Waiters and waitresses 1,417 -10.8%
Bar staff 1,794 -17.3%
Chefs 14,467 -7.2%
Programmers and software development professionals 50,789 -2.7%
Chartered and certified accountants 3,629 -1.5%
Cleaners and domestics 18,288 -4.8%
Primary and nursery education teaching professionals 31,584 +0.8%
Care workers and home carers 41,362 -1.2%
Nurses 79,634 0.0%
Fitness instructors 3,350 -1.2%
Hairdressers and barbers 1,228 -2.7%