One of the many ways of determining a country’s economic standing is by looking at its job creation statistics. Job creation involves the process of, well, creating new jobs to hopefully reduce unemployment.
The COVID-19 pandemic had enormous effects on both job creation and unemployment figures. In the UK, the highest COVID-related unemployment rate was recorded in February 2020, with London being the region with the highest numbers.
Regardless, the pandemic still brought about positive changes to employment in the UK and everywhere else in the world. For example, flexible job positions were introduced, and technology expert positions are now more in demand than ever.
Notable Job Creation Statistics (Editor’s Choice)
- Job vacancies increased by 21% during March to May 2021.
- 21% of employees in the UK have professional jobs.
- The UK’s total working population is 32.43 million.
- In 2020, the recorded UK unemployment rate was missing an estimated 300,000 people.
- In England, the number of furloughed employees reached 3.77 million by January 2021.
- London has the highest unemployment rate in the UK.
- 52% of employees in the UK currently work from home.
UK Job Creation Statistics
Job creation is closely associated with economic growth and power, and unemployment rates. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, job creation in the UK has been negatively affected. As a result, the government had to take action to create more job opportunities.
1. In 2020, 61% of UK employees were employed in SMEs.
This percentage equates to 16.8 million people employed in small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK. This makes SMEs the number one creator of jobs in the UK. Of the 61%, 48% are working in a small business, job creation statistics show. This totals to 13.3 million people employed in small companies, which is probably why they’re often referred to as the backbone of the economy.
2. The number of job vacancies in the UK dropped by more than 50% from Q1 to Q2 of 2020.
If we look at the UK job creation statistics from 2001 to 2021, this is the biggest drop ever recorded in the number of UK job vacancies. It went from an average of 785,000 in the first quarter of 2020 to an average of only 341,000 in the second quarter of the same year. This loss is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. The highest recorded UK employment rate was in February 2020.
On the other hand, just before the pandemic hit the globe, the employment rate in the UK reached an all-time high. Historically, according to job creation statistics in the UK, the employment rate has had a few jumps. However, after the last drop in 2011, it started climbing.
The highest recorded employment rate in the UK was in February 2020, when it reached 76.6%. At that time, over 31.68 million people were employed.
4. Job vacancies increased by 21% in March to May 2021 compared to Q1 of the same year.
As healthcare restrictions are slowly loosening, the number of job vacancies in the UK is steadily recovering. Looking at the new job creation statistics in March to May 2021, we see an increase in job vacancies by 21%. However, the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and catering sectors are still the most affected.
5. 21% of UK workers have professional jobs.
When it comes to the most common type of employment, 21% of the UK labour force size have professional jobs. Some examples of professional jobs include teachers, dentists, paralegals, accountants, lawyers, architects, chemists, and other similar jobs.
6. The total working population in the UK is 32.43 million.
It is estimated that in December 2020 to February 2021, there were 32.43 million employed people aged 16 and over in the UK. The COVID-19 pandemic had a massive influence on UK labour market trends in 2020, which caused a 643,000 loss in the working population from the year before. Data shows that this is the largest annual decrease since May 2009.
7. Between January and October 2020, there were 439,000 fewer unique job openings in the UK.
Based on the UK labour market outlook, job opportunities were expected to keep rising in 2020. Between January and October 2019, there were approximately 1.8 million unique job openings in the UK. However, between January and October 2020, that number went down by 439,000. This brought the estimated total number of unique job openings to below 1.4 million in 2020.
UK Unemployment Rate and Data
Unemployment in the UK was the highest after the 1981 recession. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has a similar effect on the UK economy. While unemployment rates now aren’t as bad as they were during the 1980s, those who lost their jobs are still equally devastated.
8. As of March 2021, the unemployment rate in the UK is 4.12%.
Since 2009, unemployment figures in the UK have been rising until it reached 8.5% in October 2011. Years later, it had recovered, only to be on the rise again in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the UK unemployment rate in 2021 shows a positive outlook. Moreover, the figures have been gradually decreasing as the UK job market is becoming somewhat stable over the last few months.
9. As of April 2021, 3.4 million employees in England are on furlough.
Since its inception in March 2020 up until May 2021, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has supported a cumulative total of 11.5 employees on furlough at various times. It reached its peak of 5.1 million employees on furlough in January 2021. However, job creation statistics have shown improvements as the numbers have been decreasing since.
10. Employees under the age of 35 accounted for 80% of job loss among payrolled employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to employment trends in 2020, the younger generations were hit the hardest during the worst months of the pandemic. Those under 35 accounts for approximately 80% of job loss among payrolled employees. They also had very limited job opportunities during a lockdown.
11. Approximately 300,000 people are missing from the UK unemployment rate in 2020.
The rise of unemployment in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is devastating. To make matters worse, an analysis conducted by the Alliance for Full Employment (AFFE) claims that 300,000 people are missing from the UK unemployment rate in 2020 because of how the data was collected.
This was problematic as it could have affected how rescue packages were drawn up and caused further harm to the UK economy.
12. Close to 500,000 employees didn’t receive pay while their jobs were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Close to 500,000 employees didn’t receive their salaries while their jobs were on hold in April and May 2020. According to job creation statistics, this number has decreased to around 200,000 since July 2020. However, it rose again to approximately 300,000 in January and February 2021.
13. The unemployment rate in the UK was highest in the Spring of 1984.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on the UK economy, the unemployment rate still didn’t surpass the all-time high. The highest unemployment rate in the UK happened after the recession in the 1980s. In April 1984, the rate was at an all-time high of 11.90%.
London Workforce Statistics
London is a great place to find jobs, but it also has the highest unemployment and business death rates among all UK regions. Read on to find out more about the labour market in the UK’s capital.
14. From July 2020 to January 2021, London is the English region with the most furloughed employees.
London had the most furloughed staff from July 2020 to January 2021 — a total of 644,400 in November. To make matters worse for the unemployment rate in London in 2020, this number rose to 654,100 in December. For comparison, Northern Ireland had approximately 96,500 employees on furlough in December, the lowest rate among all English regions.
15. As of April 2021, London has the highest unemployment rate among all UK regions.
Looking at job growth statistics by year, you can see the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic had on unemployment rates in the UK. For example, in the three months to April 2021, the unemployment rate in London reached 6.5%, which is higher than the national average of 4.7%.
16. As of April 2021, 4.8 million people are employed in London.
London is a major centre of employment. It offers numerous job opportunities in various sectors, such as professional, financial, administrative, etc. That said, 74.7% of the economically active individuals in London are employed, which shows a very tiny increase from the London employment rate of 74.4% in 2020.
17. Over 50% of jobs in the City of London are provided by companies with over 250 employees.
(City of London)
In the City of London, 542,000 people are employed, which makes up about 10% of the employment in Greater London. That being said, according to London employment statistics, 72% of employees in the City of London work in high-skilled jobs as opposed to just 63% across London.
18. Among all UK regions, London had the highest business death rate in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected businesses across the UK. Regionally, London had the highest business birth rate of 15.7%. Unfortunately, companies in the capital also suffered the most, with 13.1% going under in 2020.
UK Labour Market Outlook
Many factors contribute to the labour market, including technological advancements and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This results in more than half of UK employees working from home. Moreover, soon, there will be an increased need for IT and AI experts as well as teachers, nurses, and other professional roles.
19. 52% of UK employees currently work from home.
Many companies had the technology and capacity to allow their employees to work from home, which really helped employment trends in 2020. As a result, 52% of UK employees now work from home.
20. Programmers and software developers are the fastest-growing professions in the UK.
(World Economic Forum)
With the current and upcoming technological advancements, the need for IT experts will continue to rise. According to the future of work statistics, roles with the fastest growth created over 160,000 new positions, which is equivalent to a 72% increase. Other occupations included on the top 20 list are financial managers, marketers, business analysts, and others like nurses, van drivers, and HR experts.
21. In England, 7.4% of jobs are at high risk of automation.
The ONS analyzed 20 million employees in England. They found that when it comes to automation and the future of work, statistics show that 1.5 million jobs are at a high risk of being automated in the future. When it comes to manufacturing jobs lost, 12,000 employees in the aircraft manufacturing sector have either already lost their jobs or are about to.
22. During the first COVID-19 lockdown, 86% of UK employees worked from home.
There has been an increase in people who work from home during the pandemic. So much so that 86% of employees were working remotely during the first lockdown. Because of the positive effects that companies saw in flexible remote jobs, there is a high chance that it will remain the norm long after the pandemic.
UK Job Creation Statistics — The Takeaway
Creating jobs is vital to the strength of an economy. That being said, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had negative impacts on job creation and employment in the UK. Although the economy is now starting to recover, many businesses are still struggling to survive.
Regardless, it also opened doors for IT experts — now among the most in-demand occupations. The UK government is working on protecting nearly 9 million jobs and incentivising firms to hire more people. With the right measures, the UK economy has a chance to recover, and more people can come back to work and become economically active again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Based on the latest available data in April 2021, the current UK employment rate is 75.2%. This is 1.4% lower than last year’s numbers. With many COVID-19 measures in place, the number of working hours also decreased by 92.3 million. Regionally, London has the highest unemployment rate of 6.5%, while the national figure is 4.7%.
Despite this, the current unemployment rate is still not as alarming as it could be. During the 1980s, the unemployment rate in the UK reached 11%, which was the highest recorded in the UK ever.
The impact of technology in employment has indeed exponentially increased. The latest technological advancements are helping workers be more productive. It also helps reduce errors in the workplace.
Technology also opens up avenues to new kinds of job opportunities, such as social media managers, computing specialists, energy engineers, drone operators, software and app developers, digital marketers, and more.
21% of UK workers work in so-called professional jobs, which are the most in-demand nowadays. Some examples of these jobs are teachers, doctors, accountants, and lawyers.
These employees usually receive an annual salary rather than hourly pay. Professional jobs also require advanced learning. At the same time, these are the jobs that machines and artificial intelligence can’t take over, so these jobs are safe from automation.
The number of jobs created is a figure that tracks how many jobs are created in a country each month. It’s often used to measure economic growth, and a minimum of 100,000 new jobs each month is necessary to keep the economy thriving.
This number is created based on surveys and available in-house data. Governments are continuously working on creating new jobs, often hiring people to work for the government directly, such as building roads.
The UK government needs to focus on creating new jobs in the years to come. At the moment, the unemployment rate could easily reach 7.5%, which would mean 2.6 million people will be out of work. To prevent this from happening, the UK government rolled out a document called Plan for Jobs.
The government will introduce a new Job Retention Bonus to encourage companies to hire based on this document. So far, the Job Retention Scheme has protected close to 9 million jobs.
Historically, London offers some of the best job positions and high chances for employment in the UK. According to data released by Nomis, the employment rate in London from February to April 2020 is 74.7%.
Despite this high employment rate, London had the most furloughed staff (551,300) from July 2020 to January 2021, the highest unemployment rate (6.5%), and the highest business death rate (13.1%) among all UK regions.
London is a major centre of employment. It offers numerous job opportunities in various sectors, including professional, financial, administrative, and others. The working population is defined as people aged 16 and above who are employed. In London, 74.7% of economically active individuals are employed, totalling 4.8 million working individuals. On the other hand, the UK as a whole has an employment rate of 75.2%.
Unemployment rates vary each year, depending on factors such as people newly entering or re-entering the workforce, technological advancements, relocations, job outsourcing, and more. In the UK, the highest unemployment rate was in April 1984.
During the 1980s, the UK economy went through a recession. This recession hit the manufacturing sector hard, causing unemployment to rise to over 3 million. In 1984, unemployment rates in the UK hit over 11%, making it the highest recorded in history.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many were forced to turn to the online world to make money. This shift has caused an increased demand for jobs like cloud engineers, software developers, and digital marketers, thereby increasing employment rates in these professions.
However, according to job creation statistics, we will always require certain professions like salespeople, nurses, teachers, and creatives. Additionally, financial managers and market research analysts might see improved business opportunities.