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Recruiters in Bury St Edmunds report surge in job applications

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Recruiters in Bury St Edmunds have reported a dramatic rise in the number of job applications they are receiving.

Redundancy, the furlough scheme and uncertainty about the future have all fuelled the rise which one recruiter compared to job 'panic buying'.

The trend comes on the back of new statistics showing the number of people claiming Universal Credit in Bury St Edmunds and surrounding areas has more than doubled.

Kate Parkington of the Hales Group (39801465)
Kate Parkington of the Hales Group (39801465)

According the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of people claiming Universal Credit in West Suffolk in mid-March, just before lockdown, totalled 2,070.

The figure for mid-Suffolk was 945.

From March onwards, the number of claimants rose sharply, jumping to 3,850 in April, 4,765 in May, but dropped slightly by mid June to 4,510.

In Mid Suffolk, the figures were 1,780 in April, 2,350 in May, levelling off to 2,235 in June.

The figures also include workers who have signed on for Universal Credit but may have been furloughed on lower incomes, or who had not qualified for statutory sick pay (SSP).

DWP Universal Credit claims have more than doubled
DWP Universal Credit claims have more than doubled

Kate Parkington, executive assistant at the Hales Group, said: “Our Bury St Edmunds office has reported an influx of vacancies within sectors during the pandemic.

“At the start of lockdown, we were inundated with often hundreds of applications for each role.

As lockdown eased and people return to work from furlough, applications have slowed a little.

“In Thetford, though, vacancies are within engineering, manufacturing and warehousing and there has been a dramatic increase in applicants.

"There is a sense of ‘panic buying’, however, with people applying for jobs they are either overqualified for, or don’t have the skills or experience.

"People are nervous and I think have been looking for some kind of security."

Rebecca Thurlow, Compass Point Recruitment
Rebecca Thurlow, Compass Point Recruitment

Rebecca Thurlow, managing director, at Bury St Edmunds-based Compass Point Recruitment said: “Before lockdown, it was a candidate starved market.

"We have seen a significant rise across all areas from admin to engineering with some jobs attracting hundreds of applications.

“I think it is a mixture of nervousness, and redundancies.

"We expect to see a shift again in September when business makes some tough decisions around furlough.”

Donna West - head of technical and engineering recruitment at Cooper Lomaz, said: "As the roles we recruit are within technical markets, we have seen the level of applications remain at pre-covid levels and not seen a change for specific roles.

"We have however seen more people sending their CVs into us directly and not for designated roles.

"The positive is that within manufacturing, engineering and food, there are success stories where companies have found new creative ways of working, which has meant they are continuing to hire new staff to join their businesses."