New paper: Studying the UK job market during the COVID-19 crisis with online job ads

Rudy has recently published a paper exploring how the COVID-19 restrictions have affected the UK job market. The paper is available online.

The COVID-19 global pandemic and the lockdown policies enacted to mitigate it have had profound effects on the labour market. Understanding these effects requires us to obtain and analyse data in as close to real time as possible, especially as rules change rapidly and local lockdowns are enacted. This work studies the UK labour market by analysing data from the online job board, using topic modelling and geo-inference methods to break down the data by sector and geography. I also study how the salary, contract type, and mode of work have changed since the COVID-19 crisis hit the UK in March. Overall, vacancies were down by 60 to 70% in the first weeks of lockdown. By the end of the year numbers had recovered somewhat, but the total job ad deficit is measured to be over 40%. Broken down by sector, vacancies for hospitality and graduate jobs are greatly reduced, while there were more care work and nursing vacancies during lockdown. Differences by geography are less significant than between sectors, though there is some indication that local lockdowns stall recovery and less badly hit areas may have experienced a smaller reduction in vacancies. There are also small but significant changes in the salary distribution and number of full time and permanent jobs. As well as the analysis, this work presents an open methodology that enables a rapid and detailed survey of the job market in unsettled conditions and describes a web application that allows others to query this data set.