Finding a job during the COVID-19 pandemic became a challenge not only for in-person selections, but also for online processes.
The number of online job advertisements fell by about 70% in West Midlands during the lockdown, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics.
In the first week of March, before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced more restrictive measures against COVID-19, about 100 job opportunities were posted on the website Adzuna for positions in the West Midlands, the record for the year.
In the week of 19 June, this number dropped to 33, the lowest recorded so far in 2020.
In the same period in 2019, Adzuna registered 106 job advertisements for West Midlands.
With social isolation measures, the internet has become one of the main tools for finding a job, but workers have noticed a reduction in the number of online offers, such as Bruto Prata, 35, who lives in Birmingham.
“I use the website Indeed, but I noticed that the opportunities have decreased, mainly because I work in the hospitality sector,” said Prata, who had two interviews during the lockdown, but in other areas.
Despite the reduction in the number of online job opportunities, the volume of candidates remained high on the Adzuna website.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “While the early stages of the pandemic saw hiring stall, the same was not true for people looking for work. Initially, searches spiked for key worker roles at recognized employers like the big supermarkets, as offices closed, the first redundancies were felt, and furloughed staff looked to top up their pay”.
Rebeca Simoneli, 23, who lives in Birmingham, noted that online opportunities became more competitive during social isolation. “Job posts quickly had a lot of comments from interested people,” she said.
The drop in the number of online job advertisements in the West Midlands, however, follows a national trend.
All regions of England registered between 90 – 100 job opportunities in Adzuna per week between May and July in 2019. In the same period of 2020, these numbers were between 30 and 50.
Signal of resumption
The number of job opportunities published on the Adzuna platform for the West Midlands has increased in the last six weeks, between 11 September and 16 October, which might be a signal of resumption, according to the ONS.
Last week, 77 job opportunities were published on Adzuna for the West Midlands, the second highest in England.
“Searches from jobseekers continue to increase and broaden to reflect this widening recovery. Our UK site has seen record traffic over the last few weeks, with more jobseeker searches than we have ever seen since Adzuna was set up nearly 10 years ago”, said Hunter.
“With the job support scheme closing imminently, and covid-19 restrictions coming thick and fast, it’s a sad reality that more people are at risk of losing their jobs and this is likely to drive continued jobseeker traffic to our site”.