Delivery drivers and warehouse workers have become highly sought after by employers ramping up their supply networks as the COVID-19 pandemic forces millions of Britons to stay home, according to new data released by the world’s largest job site, Indeed.
Indeed analysed hundreds of thousands of jobs advertised across its platform to assess how employer demand for roles has changed since January 31, the day the UK confirmed its first cases of the virus.
It found postings for warehouse and driver jobs maintained an upward trend while workers were encouraged to work from home. The research also suggests many companies are boosting their whole logistics chain, as posts for order pickers – warehouse-based workers responsible for selecting, packing and sorting items for delivery – have increased by 31% from January 31 to March 18.
In the face of soaring demand, supermarkets and other retailers are racing to beef up their distribution chains with Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Tesco announcing plans for thousands of new jobs to allow them to provide more home deliveries for customers.
These vacancies could be met by a groundswell of jobseekers expressing interest in supermarket jobs. As of 18 March, searches for vacancies at the largest supermarkets had surged by 318% as a share of all job searches on Indeed compared with their average level over the past year.
Indeed’s data shows some of Britain’s biggest supermarkets have posted the most driving job vacancies in the last four weeks while inventory and courier services have added the most warehouse roles.
However travel and accommodation jobs have been hit hard by COVID-19 as countries around the world have implemented travel restrictions and thousands of flights have been grounded.
In the UK, Indeed saw job postings in the travel and accommodation sectors decline by 22% between January 31 and March 18, while the food and beverage sector saw trends in postings fall by 12%.
Pawel Adrjan, head of EMEA research at global job site Indeed said, “Britain’s jobs market is already being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic as people adapt to new realities in their lives. One early sign of change is that some employers are increasing their efforts to hire for roles that help keep shelves and warehouses stocked, and essential goods delivered to businesses and homes.
“As millions of livelihoods may be affected by the pandemic, these jobs may not keep the entire labour market afloat. But they could be a temporary lifeline for some of those affected by the sudden economic slowdown, while we await more information about the spread of the pandemic and about further government support for struggling households.
“Our data shows that as more people spend longer at home, some businesses are stepping up their operations to continue serving them. We are also seeing changes in the types of jobs people are searching for in these difficult times.
“The rise in warehouse and driving roles shows that maintaining strong supply chains is a priority for businesses selling essentials like food and medicine, as well as convenience items like fast food. On the other hand, the decline in postings for jobs in the food, hospitality and travel sectors point to slowdowns caused by the same phenomenon.
“These are anxious times for many people, who are dealing with the disruption of their working conditions, reduced hours and doubts over their job’s security. Inevitably, some will seek new jobs and the surge in searches for supermarket jobs highlights how quickly people have reacted in these fast-changing times.”