job market
As the world teeters on the brink of an unprecedented recession, we have been looking at the job postings within Swindon and Wiltshire to understand which occupations, sectors and towns have been most affected.

The job postings data is showing an up-to-date and local picture, which is more than most of the more robust, government data sources have been able to provide. However, the insights that we have been able to develop are more qualitative and have been used to provide colour and context around the emerging Covid-19 shifts. To account for the seasonal shifts, we have been comparing April and May 2020 with the same period in 2019.

Using the online job postings data collated by EMSI and Labour Insight, after two months of declines, the number of jobs being advertised in Swindon and Wiltshire seems to have levelled off in May 2020. We still had 48 occupations without a single job advertisements in May 2020, however only a quarter of these had no jobs in April 2020 as well. May 2020 was also better than April 2020, when we reported 56 occupations without any job vacancies being advertised. 

Customer Service Representatives, followed by Office / Administrative Assistants, Account Managers, Sales Assistants and Construction Workers were among the fastest declining occupations in Swindon and Wiltshire when comparing May 2019 and May 2020. 

Not all occupations, however, are seeing declines. Caregivers, Care Assistance, Nurses and Nursing Assistants and Practitioners have all seen higher numbers of advertised jobs in May 2020 than in May 2019.

In terms of the geographical location, Swindon has been most affected. In May 2019, nearly 50% of all jobs advertised in Swindon and Wiltshire LEP were in Swindon. In May 2020, however, just over 40% of job advertisements were based in Swindon. Other towns that saw above-average declines were Marlborough and Malmesbury. Trowbridge, which accounted for c. 7% of jobs in May 2020, alongside Warminster and Bradford-on-Avon, which together contributed another 3% jobs, actually reported marginal increases in May 2020 compared to the same month in 2019. Corsham saw the largest increase, with the proportion of Swindon and Wiltshire jobs increasing from 3% in May 2019 to 5% in May 2020.

In terms of industries, nationally Construction saw the greatest impact on its average weekly earnings, with a drop of 8.5% between March and April 2020. The other two sectors experiencing considerable declines during April 2020 were Wholesale, Retail, Hotels & Restaurants (-3.8%) and Manufacturing (-2.5%).

Both nationally and locally, tourism has been heavily affected by the lockdown, with food and drink, cultural and hospitality venues, accommodation, retail and travel all significantly affected. This was also apparent in the online job postings data. In Swindon and Wiltshire, Hotels and Similar Accommodation, Book Publishing and Retail Sale of Cosmetic and Toilet Articles in specialised stores were among the most negatively affected industries.

Our local data shows that the number of jobs advertised online was about one third lower in May 2020 than in May 2019 for Swindon and Wiltshire. This is broadly in line with the UK average. Whilst this has had a negative impact on many of us and our economy, it is reassuring to see that the job postings have stopped to decline and that many of the occupations without any openings in April 2020 have begun advertising in May 2020.