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Recruitment and HR Blog

How Covid-19 has changed the UK job market

14th July 2020

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The UK job market has changed significantly as a result of the pandemic. Recent events have flipped what was once a candidate driven market on its back, as it becomes saturated with candidates and unemployment levels continue to rise. In this article, we explore the impact Covid-19 has had on the UK job market and share our top tips on how employers can capitalise on these changes.

The changing job market


The pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses across the UK, and ultimately, unemployment levels have risen and are expected to continue rising much further over the coming months as the Furlough scheme draws to a close. Across the UK in April, advertised vacancies were 49% lower than they were the previous year, and some industries have been hit particularly hard.


For the last few years, with unemployment levels at record lows, we have been operating in a candidate driven market. Put simply, that means high calibre candidates have been used to receiving multiple job offers, as well as their current employers offering more to entice them to stay.


In an employer driven market, it is the companies who now call the shots. Typically, this means employers can hire at their own pace, can focus wholly on their needs, and face little or no competition from peers within the same industry.


There are many high-calibre people seeking employment right now and, for those companies who are able to, recruiting and advertising your vacancies to benefit from the significant increase in the job seeker market should be something that is high on your agenda. Now is the perfect time and opportunity to find great people with a depth of experience and drive who can completely fulfil your roles.

What are the challenges of an employer driven job market?


Having more candidates to choose from sounds like good news, right? But there are a number of factors to consider which may pose challenges for you when it comes to recruiting during this time. Let’s explore some of these potential challenges, and what you can do to overcome them.

Challenge 1: Time to process increased applications


You need to make sure you have the internal resource available to be able to filter through the many applications you receive – which will of course vary dependent on the nature and level of role. Do you have the right technology and support in place to ensure this process is done efficiently and effectively? Although one of the luxuries of an employer driven market is having more time when it comes to the selection process, remember, great candidates will not hang around for too long! 

Solutions such as an Applicant Tracking System and Pre-Employment Skills and Knowledge Testing can save you countless hours in recruitment admin and help you to effectively assess applicants and avoid poor hiring decisions, whilst also creating the perfect candidate journey and protecting your employer brand image.

Challenge 2: Reducing the costs to recruit


The pandemic has forced most businesses to seek cost savings for all business operations, and for many this includes the evaluation of talent attraction and recruitment methods. Perhaps you have historically used recruitment agencies as an expensive method to recruit and are now entering into the world of online job advertising for the first time. Make sure you thoroughly research how and where to advertise your vacancies online to get the maximum return on your investment.

Challenge 3: Finding the best people within the growing crowd


Be careful not to focus solely on using talent attraction methods that are free or cheap, as you are likely to limit the exposure of your job adverts and you may miss out on reaching the very best people on the market. Surely, the best way forward to overcome business challenges caused by the pandemic is to make sure you have the best of the best people onboard.


There is a big difference in the people you will attract by choosing:


  • A cheap job advertising service with no employer branding
  • Using just one job site out of the hundreds used by job seekers, especially given 43% of job seekers just use one job board as part of their search
  • Only posting vacancies on social media to a limited audience

So, whilst we may now be in an employer driven market with more candidates available to choose from, there will still be challenges to find solutions for when you come to recruit, they may just be more time consuming headaches and the need to implement more cost-effective strategies.

Our tips on how to attract the best talent in a changing job market


Potential employees can still be choosy about where they work, regardless of whether it is an employer driven job market or not. Whilst employers quite rightly will hope applicants will make a good first impression, it is just as important that you make a good first impression and that they have the very best experience – this will give them even more reason to want to work for you!


Here we round up our top tips on how to attract the best talent in a changing job market.

1. Provide clear information from the outset.


Smart employer branding with job adverts is important to get the attention from the people you want. Would you apply to a job advert that just said, ‘Our client…’? Many wont, especially the best people who care about where they work and who they apply to work for. Read our handy guide on how to write effective employer branded job adverts

2. Mobile friendly job adverts.


Many individuals now use a mobile device to browse the internet and there is no exception when it comes to the job search. Make sure your job adverts are in an easy to read formant and concise. This will make a big difference as to whether they are fully read and considered or discounted through lost interest.

3. Remote recruiting.


You can save yourself and your potential employees time and money with the early stages of the recruitment process by adopting video interview and online skills testing.


It is not necessarily about replacing the often very helpful meet in person interview, which can be insightful for the potential employee to see the working environment and soak up the atmosphere, and for you to assess many other factors, but this initial approach will help you reduce the shortlist and focus your energy on those that stand out from the crowd.

 4. Agility.


Speed in the recruitment process is still very important in an employer driven job market if you don’t want to lose great people to the competition. Of course, this should not compromise the effectiveness of the selection process, but regular communication to keep your potential employees updated on the next step is paramount.




Whilst there has definitely been a change in the job market here in the UK and beyond, great people can still be choosy about where they work. Individuals get one chance to make a great first impression, but so do we as employers. Don’t get complacent – make yours count!

And remember, we’re recruitment advertising and marketing specialists, and we’re here to help!


To discover how our employer branded job advert writing service, multiple job board advertising and social media recruitment marketing solutions will help you to quickly attract the best people, whilst removing the hassle and high costs from the recruitment process, call the JVP Group team on 01745 774 955, or you can click here to schedule a 20-minute free consultation call.

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