Page navigation

UK graduate labour market update: 27 July

July 2021

Charlie Ball's regular summary of data and reports from the labour market, brought to you by Prospects Luminate and Jisc Data Analytics

The latest round of the ONS fast response experimental statistics on the impact of COVID were released on the 15th July.

  • In the last two weeks (at the point at which they responded), currently trading UK businesses reported that 11% of their workforce have moved from furlough or fully homeworking to a hybrid model of working.
  • 5% of the UK workforce were furloughed last week - this is approximately 1.2 million people.
  • 21% of the workforce worked solely from home last week.
  • On 16 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts was at 130% of its February 2020 average level, 7 percentage points higher than that seen in the equivalent week of 2019.
  • On 16 July 2021, the volume of online job adverts had increased across all UK countries and English regions when compared with the previous week (9 July 2021), except for the East Midlands where they were broadly unchanged and Northern Ireland where they fell by 7% following recent notable increases (but were still at 159% of February 2020 levels).
  • In the week to 17 July 2021, overall retail footfall in the UK was at 75% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019; high street footfall saw a weekly increase of 3%.

Also from the ONS - the regional impacts of the pandemic on business.

  • The proportion of the workforce on furlough leave has been higher for single-site businesses than multi-site businesses since April, a trend that has reversed from previous months.
  • Scotland has consistently had the highest proportion of its workforce on furlough leave since early November 2020 but is now at similar level to both England and Wales.
  • Workers in London are most likely to be working from home - 34% of the London workforce worked from home last week, climbing to 73% of London’s IT workers. 14% of Welsh workers were home based last week.

Most graduates have been made to think differently about their future (79.4%), have become less confident about their future employment prospects (72.6%).

AGCAS and the University of Southampton have looked at the experiences of last year's graduates six to nine months after graduation and how they were affected by the pandemic.

  • An eye-catching finding is that 16% of the graduate sample were unemployed at the survey point. If this were replicated across the UK, this means that graduates from 2020 had the highest unemployment rate after six months of any graduating cohort since a UK-wide graduate destination survey began in the late 1950s.
  • Nevertheless, the majority of graduates (63.7%) were working at the survey point and a further 11.1% were in further study.
  • The average number of job applications made by graduates since March 2020 was 37.
  • Most graduates have been made to think differently about their future (79.4%), have become less confident about their future employment prospects (72.6%), and faced greater challenges finding employment than they expected (71.9%).
  • Over 80% of graduates who had been unemployed, underemployed, made redundant or furloughed felt that their wellbeing and/or morale had been affected.
  • A third of graduates who had experienced a negative employment outcome felt that their experience had given them a chance to gain experience and new skills or felt like a necessary step to future employment, whilst 60% felt that their experiences had given them the opportunity to reflect on what they want from their career.
  • Interviews revealed widespread concerns over the current graduate labour market with many perceiving reductions in opportunities, greater precariousness, not being able to access suitable graduate-level employment and even more intense job competition.
  • The interviews and open survey responses also indicated early scarring effects from the first year of graduation with a number of graduates reporting being dejected and demotivated by their employment situations and having had their initial career goals and aspirations significantly destabilised.
  • Male graduates were more likely than female graduates to be in full-time employment or to be unemployed, whereas female graduates were more likely to be undertaking part-time employment, voluntary work or other types of employment.
  • Female graduates have become less confident about their futures (75%) than male graduates (66%) due to Covid-19.
  • Graduates with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed than graduates without a disability and 76% of graduates with a disability felt that Covid-19 has damaged their job prospects.
  • Recent graduates feel more positive about their social capital (their networks and networking skills) than negative.
  • Graduates feel more positive about social support from peers/friends and family in pursuing their targeted career than they do about having contacts with relevant people in their targeted career and using social media to market themselves and develop contacts.
  • Those who had developed key industry contacts through early professional networking reported this providing notable advantages in attaining employment.
  • Graduates perceived that opportunities for establishing helpful industry contacts had declined during the pandemic, or that initial networks formed during university had become harder to sustain during lockdown.
  • Male graduates had better professional networks and better contacts with relevant people in their careers, but women reported better support from family and friends.
  • Black British and Asian British graduates had the greatest confidence in their networking skills, but Mixed Race graduates report the least confidence in their networking skills.
  • Graduates with a disability report less social capital than graduates without a disability in every facet of social capital.
  • Over 40% of graduates surveyed reported that they had not felt supported by employers during the recruitment process since March 2020, compared to only 17.7% of respondents that had felt supported.
  • Over 80% of graduates think that employers should provide a clear training pathway for graduates, should provide better information about available openings, provide internships for students before they graduate and provide more information about how they recruit graduates.
  • Of all ethnic groups, White British graduates had the lowest expectations of employers. Additionally graduates with disabilities are more likely to report that they do not feel supported by employers and feel that the recruitment process is challenging in comparison to graduates without disabilities.

As you can see, this report is timely and full of useful details - it is well worth your time.

REC have released a new Jobs Recovery Tracker

  • In the week 12-18 July, there was a total of 1.57 million active job adverts in the UK.
  • There were around 194,000 new job adverts posted between 12-18 July, slightly higher than in previous weeks.
  • New job postings numbers have remained stable since early June.
  • Growth in demand in the hospitality sector seems to be cooling, with bar staff (+3.3%), waiters and waitresses (+2.2%) and chefs (+1.1%) only seeing marginal increases in active job postings.

In 2021, teacher pay levels remain about 8% lower in real terms than in 2007, just before the financial crisis.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies have been looking at pay and progression for teachers.

  • There have been large real-terms falls in teacher pay over the last decade and more, particularly for more experienced teachers. In 2021, teacher pay levels remain about 8% lower in real terms than in 2007, just before the financial crisis.
  • They are still about 4-5% lower for less experienced teachers. These represent declines relative to average earnings, which has now recovered to be just above the level seen in 2007.
  • There are also clear signs that these declines in teacher pay have been associated with a worsening in teacher recruitment and retention, particularly since about 2015. The pandemic has provided a temporary improvement, but there are already signs this is starting to fade.

Adzuna have looked at graduate jobs on their platform.

  • Adzuna had 13,543 graduate job vacancies on offer between 5 - 11 July 2021. This is by no means the totality of the graduate labour market, but provides a useful pointer to the sector's general health.
  • That's up +191% from the same week last year and up +351% from the low point last June.
  • Adzuna searches for graduate roles have increased 353% year-on-year.
  • Five top employers still hiring for graduate jobs and detected by Adzuna are construction firm Galliford Try, engineering company AECOM, KPMG, e-commerce company The Hut and Deloitte.
  • The overall picture is of a much healthier graduate jobs market this summer.
  • If you like you can read an article about the report on the People Management site which has a quote from me in it.

The software company Qualtrics have been examining the future of work.

There's not a lot in here that's genuinely new, but it reinforces many messages from the pandemic.

  • 46% of people expect to see significant changes in their open space when they return to work. Those who work in large, open plan offices are 30% more likely to want change.
  • 73% want to continue working remotely at least one to two days a week.
  • 55% of managers say their direct reports have been more productive during the pandemic.
  • 51% of employees claim that WFH has had a positive impact on their output.
  • Younger people (Millennials and Gen Z) are more likely than their older colleagues (Gen X and Boomers) to report better productivity from remote working. This is interesting, as that's not what every report on the subject has said and suggests there may be more to explore here.

 The home office boosts productivity for a number of reasons. The people Qualtrics spoke to credited the improvement to:

  • a more flexible schedule (31%)
  • no commute (26%)
  • more control over workspace (24%)
  • fewer interruptions (24%)
  • more privacy and personal space (23%).

The report also found that:

  • 27% of people want to return to their office full-time (slightly higher than other surveys). Respondents said they miss three things: spontaneous interaction, simply being around others, exposure to a wide range of perspectives and ideas.
  • In January 2021, employees in the UK were logged on for two hours longer than pre-COVID. Similar trends have emerged in the Netherlands, US and Canada too.
  • 80% of people considering a new role want a job which allows them to work remotely at least some of the time.

Indeed have been looking at vacancies in the UK and Ireland.

  • Job postings in the UK were 14.8% above the 1 February 2020, pre-pandemic baseline, seasonally adjusted, as of 16 July 2021. In Ireland they were up 17.5%.
  • The biggest improvements in the UK were in the sports category, followed by veterinary, physicians and surgeons, nursing, pharmacy and retail. The strongest improvements in Ireland were in veterinary, therapy and community and social service.

And finally, to the US' National Bureau of Economic Research. The NBER is chock-full of useful and interesting research on the US labour market. Not all of it is entirely relevant to us in the UK - there are crucial differences between the UK and US labour markets that make many findings not as transferrable as we'd like. But these are the findings of an experiment sending more than 83,000 fictitious applications with randomized characteristics to geographically dispersed jobs posted by 108 of the largest U.S. employers.

  • Distinctively Black names reduce the probability of employer contact by 2.1 percentage points relative to distinctively white names.
  • The magnitude of this racial gap in contact rates differs substantially across firms, exhibiting a between-company standard deviation of 1.9 percentage points.
  • Despite an insignificant average gap in contact rates between male and female applicants, we find a between-company standard deviation in gender contact gaps of 2.7 percentage points, revealing that some firms favour male applicants while others favour women.
  • Company-specific racial contact gaps are temporally and spatially persistent, and negatively correlated with firm profitability, federal contractor status, and a measure of recruiting centralization.
  • Contact gaps are highly concentrated in particular companies, with firms in the top quintile of racial discrimination responsible for nearly half of lost contacts to Black applicants in the experiment.
  • In short, the researchers found that systemic illegal discrimination is concentrated among a select set of large employers, many of which can be identified with high confidence using large scale inference methods.

Get insights in your inbox!

Related articles

Loading articles...





This article is tagged with:

Event: {{}}



This event is tagged with:

Loading articles...