From education to employment

Changes in Employer Skills Demand Over the Last Year

In today’s Shedding Light on the Labour Market, we take a look at how employer skills demand has changed over the last year.

The chart below uses Emsi’s Job Posting Analytics data to identify the Top 20 hard or technical skills from January 2020 to January 2021 (the numbers represent the number of new job postings per month that each skill was named in).

The chart is interactive, and you can see any skill you want to look at more closely by hovering your cursor over it, and you can also stop the animation at any point, by clicking on the months at the top.

The first thing to note is the decline in demand for almost all skills over the period, with big decreases being seen in March to May (due to the first Lockdown) and July to August (presumably due to summer), so that with one exception — Nursing — there a decrease in employer demand for all the top skills over the course of the year.

The second thing to note is that the November Lockdown does not appear to have had a particularly dramatic effect on skills demand. There was some decrease in a number of skills, but nothing like as dramatic as the impact of the earlier restrictions. It is also noticeable that there has been an increase in demand for most of these skills since then.

Finally, perhaps the most striking feature of the chart is what has happened to Restaurant operation. In January 2020, there were 14,670 new postings which named this skill, and this then rose to 15,190 in February. But then with the closure of the hospitality industry in mid-March (just before the official Lockdown), the numbers plummeted such that in April and May, there were no new postings mentioning this skill.

This was then repeated during the November and January Lockdowns, with both months recording no mentions in any new postings:

We can also look at those skills which have seen the most growth during the period in the chart below (here, we have only included skills with more than 1,000 job postings). Actually, the word “growth” is a little misleading, since of all these skills, only five out of the Top 20 actually saw growth — the rest really just show the least negative change.

Once again we can see the general trend of decline in March to May and July to August, as well as an uptick in the last month or so. But the most striking feature by far is the growth in Personal Protective Equipment. Back in January 2020, there were 7,810 postings looking for this skill. By January 2021, this had grown to 10,790 — a rise of 38%.

If you would like to find out more about trends in employer demand for your area, contact Emsi for more info.

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