In today's Shedding Light on the Labour Market, we want to focus on the importance of understanding how local labour markets are often vastly different from one another, even with those that are in close proximity, and therefore why it is vital for those making decisions relating to their labour market to identify demand trends at the local level.

Let's begin by looking at the broad picture, using a chart showing year-on-year change in employer demand for occupations at the 2-digit SOC level for Lockdown 1 (X axis) and Lockdowns 2 and 3 (Y axis). What the chart tells us is which occupations have had strong demand throughout the entire period (upper right quadrant); which struggled during the first Lockdown, but have since seen a resurgence in demand (upper left quadrant); and which have struggled throughout (lower left quadrant). We have also split the occupations into four categories — High Skilled, Medium Skilled, Service Oriented and Labour Intensive — with details of each occupation seen when you hover your cursor over each dot: 

We can now delve into a couple of these occupations, to see whether demand has been uniform across the country, or whether there are particular areas that have seen strong growth or a large decline.

The green dot at the top of the upper left quadrant is Skilled Construction and Building Trades, which saw a year-on-year decline in demand of over 41% during the first Lockdown, but which grew by nearly 29% during the second and third Lockdowns. In the chorpleth map below, we have used our Job Posting Analytics to measure change in employer demand from January 2020 to April 2021. When you press the play button, you can see that for the period of the first Lockdown, demand throughout most of the country slumped. However, there were a number of areas which saw growth. For instance Gwynedd in North Wales and Mid Devon both saw demand increasing during this period. As we go through the year, we can see that growth picks up across most parts of the country, and despite a slight dip towards the end of the year, it continues into the first four months of 2021. However, there are still parts of the country where demand has not picked up significantly, notably in Ryedale, and in many of the Local Authorities in and around London: 

We can also look at an occupation where demand has not picked up during any of the Lockdowns, namely Customer Service Occupations. Again, the map below shows changing demand measured by monthly job postings for every Local Authority in the country. What we see here is that most of the country stays in the light colours throughout the period, signifying a decline in demand compared to January 2020. However, once again the value of the local data comes through, as we see some areas bucking that trend. For instance, Dumfries and Galloway and parts of North Wales saw demand holding up well throughout most of the period. However, as with Skilled Construction and Building Trades, the South of the country and in particular London and the London commuter belt seem to have experienced some of the slowest returns to growth in demand for these occupations: 

 We will be taking a closer look at some of the emerging labour market trends in a series of webinars on the topic of Rebuilding Your Local Economy After a Year of Disruption, as well as a webinar looking at How Does Education Supply Align With Labour Market Demand, which you can register for free by clicking on the links.

You may also be interested in these articles:

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