Job-searching trends during lockdown

Jobs. People want them; companies have them.

You’re probably sick of reading articles adorned with the phrases ‘unprecedented times’, ‘uncertain times’ or ‘challenging times’. So let’s cut to the chase. Jobs. People want them; companies have them. But what companies in particular have those jobs, and what are they?

I’ve teamed up with job-website aggregator Jooble to get the lowdown on what trends they’ve seen since lockdown came into play. Some are to be expected; others… not so much. 

Job searching during the Covid pandemic

When you’re thinking about your career during lockdown, there’s a number of scenarios you could find yourself in. Your focus might be on keeping the job you have and not rocking the boat. Maybe the lockdown has given you time to reflect and now’s the moment to find something new. Or, with the uncertainty of furlough and redundancy, you may not have any other choice than to look for a new job.

Jooble noticed a 12% decrease in job searches during lockdown

Jooble noticed that whilst unemployment is at an all-time high, job searches are down. From the start of March to the end of May, there were 12% fewer job searches than in the previous few months. 

This might mean employees are waiting to see what’s on the other side of lockdown before giving up their security. I’ve also spoken to dads who are enjoying more family time through lockdown, and maybe they don’t want to give that up too quickly.

Popular job searches

There’s also been a surge in job searches where the demand has grown, according to Jooble. Their top five job searches this spring have been:

  1. Fruit picker
  2. Pharmacy delivery driver
  3. Part time staff
  4. Amazon warehouse
  5. Hospital porter

‘Part time staff’ is an interesting search term. It’s not a job

It’s worth noting that Jooble is a global job-aggregator, and I didn’t have the data on search terms cross-referenced with geographies.

‘Part time staff’ is an interesting term; not only because it’s not a job, but also because the cohort making this search might be furloughed workers looking to pick up some extra cash.

Build it and they will come

Jooble also said that since Amazon announced the creation of 100,000 part-time hires, the job searches for Amazon-related work have tripled. Build it and they will come!

Job market trends: pre-lockdown vs now

The most notable trend that Jooble spotted was that while companies have had some time to take gradual steps to address the impact of Covid, job seekers have had to adjust much more rapidly.

‘Pharmacy delivery driver’ surged to the second-highest search term

For example, Jooble in France saw nearly 55,000 requests for ‘seasonal agriculture’ immediately after the French government called for workers who had recently become unemployed to help farmers.

Another interesting trend is the specificity of keywords in job searches. In the two weeks before UK lockdown, ‘pharmacy delivery driver’ had 7,600 search terms. Two weeks later, that had surged to 30,000 searches – and according to Jooble, that is the second-highest search term in the market.

Final thoughts: a societal and socio-economic split?

I was really excited to receive these insights from Jooble, as I wanted to see what people in a similar situation to me were doing. I thought I might see people searching for project manager roles at Unilever, for example. You know: ‘Office worker seeks profitable corporate.’

That wasn’t the case. Job searches as a whole were down 12%, but there was a huge surge in people looking to be fruit pickers and warehouse workers. Were the 12% part of a workforce who can afford not to search and just keep their heads down and carry on? And did the surge represent people who weren’t fortunate enough to be in that position?

Who knows? I can only speculate. But it does make me think about the longer-term economic and societal impact of what we’re living through.

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