10 min read

COVID-19: Impacts on the labor market. Picture of doom.

What COVID-19 means to the world labor market.

The world’s financial markets largely ignored the Covid-19 while it was spreading in China. But in late February, they reacted sharply to the virus in Europe and the Middle East, and fear of the pandemic took on a global dimension. Now the risks associated with the coronavirus are aggressively affecting the pricing of different asset classes, and so some fear that a global economic recession is inevitable.

The labor market is a very good indicator of the state of the well being of an economy. The better companies are doing, the more they will tend to invest in new people. This results in their need to fill in more new jobs. In a good economy, there are many jobs, while in a weak economy the number of jobs will decrease. That’s why we took a deeper look at the labor market for the last six months and found out, how COVID-19 impacted industries in different countries.

Big Data view at how the labor market has been impacted by COVID in 2020: geography, job families, and industries.

Which country has gone the best through the COVID-19 period?

And the winner is… China! China has experienced an increase in job postings between the pre- and post-COVID-19 era in our analysis. The main explanation here is that for China the COVID-19 period started earlier. In the middle of January during the big lockdown, there were almost no job postings available in China. Now it has increased again by about 10% compared to the pre-COVID-19 era.

The second place is shared by India and Switzerland. Both countries have been approximately flat between Q1 and Q2. All the other countries in our table have actually significant decreases in job postings. The positions 4 and 5 on our list took Brazil and Singapore with a decrease of about 25% in the number of job postings. However, please consider, that our analysis stops in June: that is the reason why Brazil is so far high in the table. The country was heavily affected first in July. That is also reflected in our numbers: at the end of June, the labor market in Brazil already started to decline.

The countries that are in the middle of the list with about 30-40% decline in the job postings are mostly large economies countries.

Middle in range of 30-40% decline

  • Vietnam
  • US
  • France
  • Australia
  • Poland
  • Italy
  • Germany

Flop 5 of the list

The Republic of Korea suffered the most in terms of the negative labor market impact of COVID-19 showing 80% of the decrease in the number of job postings.

  • Great Britain / Ireland (-40%)
  • Canada (-55%)
  • Sweden (-67%)
  • The Republic of Korea (-80%)

What about the difference in industry performance?

  • Interestingly, in Germany, there has been a high increase in demand for Sales. Also, IT has sustained the crisis quite well
  • In the USA the least affected job family is IT
    The least recovering are logistics and manufacturing
  • In the UK the least affected job family is Sales
    All other job families are suffering significantly of up to 50% of negative change
  • In Canada, the least affected is manufacturing

More about how COVID-19 affected different industries in the text below.

HR job posting per week by countries: Pre-covid VS Post-covid / HRForecast Analysis

How is your job family performing on a global level in the time of COVID-19?

The most crisis-proof job families are IT, Manufacturing, and Data Analytics with a decrease of roughly -25% in the number of job postings. Next in the list of the crisis-proof job families are Medical and Finance jobs. Most negatively affected job families with the decreases of -40%, or even -50% or more are Marketing, Sales, Procurement / Logistics. Which job family is on the very bottom of our table? Surprisingly, it’s Human Resources with an almost -60% decrease.

Job postings per week by job families

Job postings per week by job families: Pre-COVID-19 VS Post-COVID-19 /
HRForecast Analysis

Dear HR managers, what is your explanation for this?

job postings HR in covid time

HR job posting per week: Pre-COVID VS Post-COVID / HRForecast Analysis

How did COVID-19 impact different industries?

Let’s have a look at how COVID-19 affected different industries around the globe. In our analysis, we focused on eight industries: electronics, IT, food and retail, automotive, fashion, travel, security, and eCommerce. As a cross-industry indicator, we took all the tech giants and analyzed them to see how they were performing. In the first half of 2020 across these 8 industries, there were globally 680.000 job postings. Thereof 400.000 in Q1 and 280.000 in Q2.


680K jobs globally in 1st half of 2020:

400K jobs Q1   VS   280K jobs Q2


  • There is only one industry with a positive trend on our list: it’s the food and retail industry. It actually increased by 10% comparing the pre- and post-COVID-19 periods. April onwards we see huge increases in the number of job postings in this industry.
  • The second one on the list is eCommerce with -9%, followed by IT with -21% decline. The security industry (physical and non-physical security) has a decrease of around -30% and in the 5th place is electronics with -50%.
  • Next on the list are the tech giants. Looking at some very specific weeks, for example, in Germany, you can see that the number of job postings for tech giants has sometimes even decreased by 90% or more compared to the pre-COVID-19 weeks.
  • So, what are the three lowest-ranked industries? The worst performer is the automotive industry with a decline of over -60% compared to the pre-COVID-19 times. April was really the bottom month with almost no job postings in that industry. The second one from the bottom is the fashion industry seeing a decrease of almost -60% in the post- versus the pre-COVID-19 times. However, in the latest weeks, the decrease has only been -40%-50%, which is a sign of recovery there.
  • The last place took, of course, tourism and travel industry. Coming from record numbers in February it basically crashed to almost zero. If you look at the averages between the pre- and post-COVID-19 era it is almost -90%!
job posting per week by industries: Pre-covid VS Post-covid

Job posting per week by industries: Pre-COVID-19 VS Post-COVID-19 / HRForecast Analysis

More news to come…

So there is a clear relationship between the news in Q2 regarding countries with many COVID-19 cases and the labor market. We will continue our analysis on how COVID-19 is influencing the labor market and will observe how it will develop in the next Q3 and Q4 of the year. If you are interested in receiving our latest news and do not want to miss our next update, follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter!

More insights.

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