THE latest ‘ Job Report with Ulster Bank’ reveals the number of applications employers receive for their vacancies has more than doubled in a year.

Applications for jobs on the e-recruitment platform have increased overall, up 7% compared to this time last year.

Reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the labour market, NIJobs data indicates that more people are applying for multiple roles, increasing the application rate per job by 122%. 

Whilst there has been a sharp decline in recruitment sectors, data from Q2 indicates that there are some encouraging signs of recovery with jobs increasing each month on month from April’s lockdown to the gradual reopening of the economy in June. 

Jobs listings rose by 18% in May and 32% in June and June’s listings were 56% higher than April’s lockdown low.

The majority of employment categories (17 out of 32) seeing an increase in job listings between May and June.

Healthcare jobs dominate the job market, followed by vacancies in production and manufacturing and opportunities in IT. While jobs in construction and call centres recovered in the second quarter of 2020. 

Those impacted the most such as the hospitality sector provide grim reading however the Chancellor’s unveiling of ‘eat out dine out’ and a VAT drop to 5% may provide a much needed short-term boost.

Sam McIlveen, General Manager at says that whilst there are small signs of recovery in the job market as the economy reopens, businesses must adapt to a new way of working and recruiting.

“The work environment has changed considerably. The big challenge at the moment is managing the sheer number of job applications- over half a million people visited our website in June so it’s clear that the demand for new jobs is there.

“We will shortly be introducing video recruitment technology which will allow businesses to swiftly process applications, shortlist and interview candidates. You can instantly connect with the candidate behind the CV and offer a better candidate experience anytime, anywhere.

“We know that this model can help businesses save 25% on recruitment costs, which is critical in the current climate and drastically reduce time by up to 60% compared to the standard interview process. It’s a seamless and effective approach, finding the right person for the role.”

The ‘ Job Report with Ulster Bank’ provides valuable insight into the economic environment alongside recruitment trends and the types of roles jobseekers are searching for online.

Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank’s Chief Economist adds: “The latest Jobs Report with Ulster Bank for Q2 2020 has captured the dramatic U-turn in firms’ hiring intentions.

“In recent quarters a slowdown in the economy had led to an easing in job listings from their Q1 2019 peak. But the onset of the pandemic has not surprisingly seen job openings plunge in Q2.

“Those sectors most affected by the lockdown and social distancing restrictions have recorded the steepest declines. For example, the hospitality sector has seen job vacancies plunge by 90% q/q and by close to 95% since Q4 2019.   Six categories have witnessed year-on-year declines in excess of 90%. These included HospitalityPublishing, Media & Creative Arts; Sales; Secretarial & Admin; Science, Pharma, Agriculture & Food; and Social, Charity & Not for Profit.

“Only two job categories recorded a quarterly rise in listings in Q2 – Nursing, Healthcare & Medical and Big Data & Analytics. Indeed, the latter posted a record high and outperformed some of the traditional big recruiters such as Accountancy and FinanceBig Data & Analytics has seen an eight-fold increase year-on-year (+690%) propelling it into the top 10 recruiters (ranked 4th) for the first time.

“While the latest jobs data shows record declines on a quarterly basis, the monthly data shows signs of a tentative recovery. April marked the record low for listings with 22 of the 32 categories down to single figures. April saw advertisements fall by 71% y/y with more than 1 in 4 employment categories recording hefty declines of at least 90%. Since then, the monthly profile has been one of improvement albeit from a very low base. Listings rose by 18% m/m in May and 32% m/m in June. June’s listings were 56% higher than April’s series low.

“Encouragingly, the majority of employment categories (17 out of 32) saw an increase in listings between May and June. And 17 categories have more listings in June than April. On a sector level, one of the notable improvements is the rise of IT jobs. The IT sector accounted for one-quarter of the monthly rise in listings in June. Only three employment categories had more jobs listed in June relative to February (pre-COVID-19). These are Nursing, Healthcare & Medical (+3%), Big Data & Analytics (+26%) and Retailing, Wholesaling & Purchasing(+19%).

A corner may have been turned on the recruitment front, but the wider labour market is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Find out more on why video recruitment works for businesses at

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