Britain’s online spending boom sparked huge rises in job searches for roles related to e-commerce, according to research by flexible work platform Indeed Flex.
The staffing and workforce management platform – which was formerly Syft – analysed the fastest rising job search terms between 1 February 2020 and 1 March 2021 and found there were significant increases in interest in jobs related to e-commerce.
Searches for “picker” jobs — which involve picking items and preparing them for delivery — more than doubled (+103%) while “picker packer” searches grew by +57%.
Similar gains were made by “warehouse associate” (+82%) and “warehouse operative” (+55%) searches while “delivery drivers” recorded a +79% increase.
The soaring interest came as Britain’s online spending reached unprecedented levels. In February 2020 internet shopping accounted for 19.1% of retail spending but lockdown and changing consumer behaviour has driven that to a record high 36.3%1.
The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has also led to rising jobseeker interest in other industries.
Shops, restaurants and pubs and other close-contact services will reopen on April 12 and jobseeker interest has started to grow in sectors that are set to reopen in the coming weeks and months.
Interest in bar and waitressing jobs has grown by +98% and +60% respectively in the past two weeks2. Retail and other customer-facing roles have also attracted significant rises in interest in recent weeks.
The change is search behaviour comes as job postings in the UK rose to their highest level since April 20203 with hiring in hard hit and resilient sectors ticking up ahead of restrictions being eased.
Food & preparation occupations jumped by 21% in the three weeks to 12 March while retail recorded a 23% increase over the same period. Loading & stocking occupations increased by one third (33%) while driving roles have risen by 39%4.
Employers have also boosted their temporary workforces as consumer demand changed after the first lockdown. Many of them now use hiring platform Indeed Flex for their industrial, facilities management and retail staffing needs.
Indeed Flex — which is based in the UK and has been rebranded after flexible recruitment platform Syft was acquired by the global job site Indeed in 2019 – has seen a dramatic increase in demand for its industrial and facilities management workforce during the pandemic.
That appears set to continue as the economy opens up and people seek work opportunities that fit around their priorities. In March, the most in demand roles on the platform for both employers and jobseekers was Warehouse Operative.
Jack Beaman, CEO and co-founder at Indeed Flex, said:“Covid-19 slammed the brakes on the UK jobs market and left many people wondering where to turn to next but as the vaccination programme continues apace and the economy slowly reopens, there is light at the end of the tunnel and thousands of new roles are becoming available every week.
“We know people were increasingly seeking flexible working options before the pandemic and our research shows there has been a rise in searches for part-time work since the first lockdown.
“About one third of our Flexers — verified workers on the platform — have switched their career from the hospitality industry to industrial or facilities management due to Covid-19. These pivots as well as approximately one third of the UK workforce working part-time mean Indeed Flex can help match this significant contingent of the workforce — as well as those seeking to balance work-life priorities — to actively hiring employers.”