As the UK prepares for a loosening of remaining coronavirus restrictions, the outlook on the jobs front is positive: The UK hiring rate is rising strongly, and many sectors are now seeing hiring above pre-pandemic levels, according to LinkedIn data.

    Overall UK hiring is up more than 92% year-on-year as of June, and sectors that were previously closed or partly restricted, like retail and travel, are bouncing back. Even compared to 2019 figures, hiring across the country has been strong (up more than 15% in June compared to two years prior).

    There are also signs that the jobs market may have changed more permanently due to the pandemic, with the number of remote roles advertised on LinkedIn on the rise across the board.


    Remote work has taken root

    More than a year after many employers had to rapidly shift their teams to work from home as pandemic restrictions were introduced, remote work seems to have taken root. The number of remote roles advertised on LinkedIn has increased across all sectors in the past year, from software and IT to consumer goods, and even in retail and transport and logistics, industries with relatively few remote roles in 2019.

    In many ways, the pandemic accelerated existing moves towards digital technologies and meant many firms adapted to new ways of working. In the wake of this, sectors with a strong technological nature have seen remote roles rise rapidly; for instance, in software and IT, more than one in five (23.1%) roles advertised is now remote, compared to 4.2% in June 2020.

    Experts expect the office will continue to play an important role, particularly for teamwork. They see its function post-pandemic to be a place for collaboration where an open-plan working space has real benefits for learning and development, but on the flipside, have seen the value and maintained productivity levels from remote working, so we should be approaching each employee's wellbeing and work preferences with respect moving forward.

    Even among those sectors that previously had low levels of remote work, the past year has changed ways of working. Retail, for instance, has seen an increasing move to online sales and the proportional increase in remote roles is among the highest – remote roles in the industry made up 3.9% of job listings as of last month, an eleven-fold increase on those listed in June 2020, when remote roles made up 0.3% of job listings.

    Transport and logistics saw a similarly large proportional rise, with more than 5% of roles now listed as remote. Other large increases came in healthcare, education and finance, all sectors where technology has had a rising role; in these three industries, more than one in 10 advertised roles is now remote.


    Cause for celebration as hiring surges 

    Jobseekers finally have some good news, with LinkedIn’s data showing hiring has increased 7% month-on-month in June — and is now up 92.6% compared to June of last year. This huge year-on-year rise is perhaps unsurprising given the implosion of the hiring market due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions – things could really only get better. However, hiring in the UK is actually exceeding pre-pandemic levels as well, at 15.5% higher than in June 2019. 

    Almost all industries are in the midst of a hiring boom, the data suggests, with figures well above both 2019 and 2020 numbers. The hiring rate in construction is up 126.7% on 2020 and 27.4% on 2019; manufacturing is up 109.9% from last year and 5.5% on 2019; and real estate has seen a 119.2% increase from 2020 and is up 15% from 2019. Hiring in recreation and travel, bouncing back from a dismal year in 2020, has surged 337.7% compared to last year and is up a healthy 11.9% on 2019. Retail is also growing, with an 84.9% year-on-year increase in the hiring rate and 19.9% increase from 2019.

    All the industries that have seen rising figures were effectively shut down for most of 2020 as the UK was put under multiple national lockdowns. Many have now benefited from government help in order to get back on their feet. Real estate, for instance, got a much-needed boost from a year-long stamp duty holiday, which helped entice buyers and sellers back into the market. The housing boom has also contributed to the rapid recovery of the construction sector, which IHS Markit figures show grew at its fastest rate in 24 years in June. Travel operators have similarly seen demand increase as government rules changed at the end of June to allow people to book holidays in popular destinations.

    Only one sector hasn’t yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels, according to LinkedIn’s data: energy and mining. While hiring in the sector is up year-on-year from 2020 (79.1%), it is still 18% lower than the 2019 hiring rate.