Job losses spike across country

16 July 2020

Around 650,000 jobs have been lost in the UK since March, according to figures released today.

The Office for National Statistics said that 74,000 jobs were lost last month alone. ​

Results from the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Recruitment Outlook, in partnership with Totaljobs, also revealed that almost a third of firms across the country will shrink their workforces in the next three months.

Twenty nine per cent of businesses expect to decrease the size of their workforce in the next three months, alongside 28 per cent already cutting workforce sizes in quarter two of this year. 

However, more than half, 66 per cent, kept their workforces the same. 

The leading business organisation’s landmark survey, which serves as a barometer of the UK labour market, received 7,400 responses and is the largest of its kind in the UK, reflected findings from Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s latest Quarterly Business Report.

Based on the responses received from more than 800 businesses in Greater Birmingham, 28 per cent of all businesses in the region had reduced their headcount levels, an 18 per cent increase compared to Q1, and again more than half, 63 per cent, kept their workforces the same.

Manufacturers in Greater Birmingham responding to the survey were hit especially hard in quarter two with 38 per cent decreasing their workforces over the last three months and just four per cent expanding workforces.

Emily Stubbs (pictured), policy and patron adviser at the GBCC said: “This is an incredibly challenging time for many, made all the worse by the difficult decisions employers are having to make in the face of testing economic circumstances.

“The announcements made in the summer statement will go some way in helping protect jobs. However, as the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, many more people will unfortunately find themselves out of work, and struggling to access new jobs in a tight labour market.

“We are urgently calling on government to consider additional measures to reduce the costs of employment, stimulate economic recovery and rebuild business confidence, as we in set out in our recent Unprecedented Times report, so as to minimise redundancies and help those individuals out of work back into meaningful jobs as soon as possible.”

As lockdown lifts, Totaljobs have seen a 30 per cent month-on-month increase in the number of jobs being advertised on their website for June, with the largest volume posted in IT (20,000), logistics (12,000) and social care (9,000).

Unsurprisingly, applications per vacancy were up across all sectors, reflecting continued rises in candidate activity on the Totaljobs site.

British Chambers of Commerce have called on the government for further action to limit the damage to the UK labour market, including reducing the overall cost of employment, through a temporary cut in employer National Insurance Contributions and support to upskill and reskill employees as businesses adapt to change.

BCC co-executive director Hannah Essex said: “Many businesses are suffering from an historic cash crunch and reduced demand, meaning firms will still face tough decisions despite welcome interventions made in the Summer Statement.

“The government should consider additional support for employers before the Autumn Budget to reduce the overall cost of employment and prevent substantial redundancies. Measures could include a temporary cut in employer National Insurance Contributions and support to upskill and reskill employees as businesses adapt to change.”

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