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UK businesses see surge in job applications

Published: Tuesday 28th July 2020

An employment think tank expects many UK businesses to see a surge in job applications. The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) said that approximately eight people now claim unemployment benefit for every one job vacancy. This is a 500% increase since the beginning of March. The news comes after results showing job adverts fell by almost half a million since January. UK companies are reporting record numbers of job applicants, with a restaurant in Manchester seeing nearly 1,000 applicants for just one position.

Five people sat on chairs waiting for a job interview as UK businesses see surge in job applications.

Job competition heats up

More people being out of work and less companies hiring has created a ‘perfect storm’ in the employment market. Tony Wilson, director of IES, calls the current  situation “the toughest jobs market for a generation.” He added, “At least one million people are on out-of-work benefits and looking for work. We have a double whammy; many people looking for work and very few jobs adverts.”

Mitchells & Butlers, the country’s largest pub chain, said it had seen a 400% increase in applications. This includes one of its bars in Liverpool which saw over 500 applicants for just one position. Other UK businesses are expecting to see a similar surge in job applications. A restaurant in Manchester reported nearly 1,000 people applied for a receptionist position in just 24 hours.

UK areas worse affected

Inner cities and former industrial regions have been hit worse during the coronavirus pandemic. The sharp drop in people travelling into London for work has had a huge negative effect on service industries such as retail and hospitality. The IES revealed an average of 20 people are claiming benefits for every job vacancy in these regions. One borough of London has seen this ratio rise from 8:1 in January to nearly 50:1 in July. Outside of London, areas of the North-East, North-West and Wales are also among the hardest hit.

Group of students throw their graduation caps into the air as UK businesses see surge in job applications.

More UK businesses to see surge in job applications

Online job sites are showing similar findings, with many seeing a surge in job applications. Using data from its 27 million UK profiles, LinkedIn suggests finding work is at least three-times harder now than before lockdown. Further warnings are being given to UK graduates, with some predicting more than 100 graduates will apply for every job needing a degree.

Lockdown measures are now easing and many sectors are returning to work. However, there are concerns that things could worsen before they improve. Approximately 9.5 million people are currently on furlough, roughly a third of the UK’s workforce. However, some economists fear that the end of the furlough scheme in October could lead to a new wave of mass unemployment. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK Treasury’s independent forecaster, has warned that anywhere between 10%-20% of those on furlough could face redundancy when the scheme is ended.

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