The coronavirus crisis: the Adecco Group Swiss Job Portal Index on the decline at -26%
The Swiss job market was developing positively shortly before the crisis, with a significant increase in healthcare, construction and expansion professions
Zurich, 6 April 2020 – Special analyses conducted as part of the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index for the Swiss job portals show that, as the coronavirus crisis escalates, the number of job advertisements is declining significantly. The number of job advertisements on online job portals has plummeted by around 26% within the two weeks following the Federal Council’s announcement on 16 March that Switzerland was in an ‘extraordinary situation’. Prior to this, the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index showed a 4% increase in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. This is reflected in the scientifically substantiated survey of the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index conducted by the University of Zurich’s Swiss Job Market Monitor. However, this development differed between occupational groups. With an increase of 20% and more, healthcare and construction and expansion professions recorded strong growth shortly before the coronavirus crisis.
Since the introduction of an ‘extraordinary situation’ by the Federal Council on 16 March 2020 and the introduction of continuously adapted measures designed to contain Covid-19, the number of job advertisements on online job portals has fallen by around 26% in just two weeks. ‘The current slump in the number of job advertisements is striking and is already reminiscent of past crises, such as those related to the franc shock in 2015 or the 2008 banking crisis, in terms of its extent. However, the point of departure here is completely new. Thanks to short-time work, the prospect for a medium-term recovery is intact,’ explains Nicole Burth, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland.
Special analyses on the development of the online job portal index since the end of 2019*
Not all professions are being negatively affected by the current situation. Companies whose services and products are now in particularly high demand are finding it difficult to recruit urgently needed personnel quickly enough. Nicole Burth, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland, reports on this: ‘We are observing an overall slowdown in the economy. This is especially true in the catering sector, where events have had to be cancelled. However, the situation varies considerably depending on the sector. For example, medical personnel are currently in great demand, as are personnel in the food industry, in online retail and, in some cases, in logistics and industrial companies. We are trying to reposition employees from affected areas to areas that are in demand. The challenge lies in finding the required specialists in the shortest possible time.’
‘Development in the number of job advertisements on the online job portal** is only one of the indicators for the current negative development of job advertisements in many professions. The impact of the coronavirus crisis on the overall job market and in particular on various occupational groups will become clear in the next quarter. At the start of July, we will be able to make a detailed comparison with the situation shortly before escalation of the coronavirus crisis using our Job Index’s quarterly data***,’ explains Anna von Ow from the Swiss Job Market Monitor.
Development of the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index (Job Index) shows that, shortly before the coronavirus crisis intensified, the number of job advertisements had increased moderately by 4% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter last year. Half of the reported occupational groups recorded growth and, in addition to healthcare personnel, more people were being sought for occupations in construction and expansion, personal and social services, and management and organisation.
Even before the coronavirus crisis escalated, demand for personnel in healthcare professions was already rising at an above-average rate
Shortly before the coronavirus crisis came to a head, various professions had recorded an increase compared to the same quarter of the previous year: in the first quarter of 2020, demand rose significantly in healthcare professions (+22%) and in construction and expansion professions (+20%). Additionally, hospitality and personal services professions were still experiencing growth at that point (+13%) and management and organisation professions had also increased slightly (+9%). In many occupational groups, however, personnel recruitment by companies stagnated or slightly decreased in the first quarter of 2020: technology and sciences (+3%), office and administration (+1%), teaching and public services (0%), financial and fiduciary services (-2%), trade and sales (-3%), IT (-4%). Professions in industry and transport fell by 6% compared with the previous year, even before the coronavirus crisis intensified.
The above-average increase in demand in healthcare professions continued in the first quarter of 2020. There was greater demand for doctors and nurses, medical practice assistants and pharmacy assistants.
In the first quarter of 2020, the number of job advertisements for construction and expansion professions also rose significantly year-on-year (+20%). Both the mainstream construction industry and the expansion trade grew. For example, the mainstream construction industry comprises professions such as carpenters, concrete workers or bricklayers, while the expansion trade includes, among other professions, floor and panel layers, roofers or plumbers.
Just before the coronavirus crisis came to a head, hospitality and personal services professions had recorded an increase of 13% over the previous year. This occupational group includes, among other things, hospitality professions such as service or kitchen staff, but also professions in the fields of order and security, personal hygiene or housekeeping. ‘We are currently observing a sharp drop in demand for personnel due to crisis regulations for restaurants, hotels and events in the hospitality and hotel industry,’ explains Nicole Burth, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland.
Management and organisation professions also rose by 9% in the first quarter of 2020, shortly before the coronavirus crisis intensified. This professional group consists of, among others, professions in advertising and marketing, entrepreneurs and directors or commercial and administrative employees.
In the first quarter of 2020, the number of job advertisements in industry and transport professions fell by 6%. This occupational group includes, for example, occupations in metal construction and metalworking, the automotive industry as well as occupations in the manufacturing industry.
Before the coronavirus outbreak: stable to slight growth in the major Swiss regions in the first quarter of 2020
How the coronavirus crisis is subduing the job market development of individual regions will become especially clear upon comparison with the next quarter. Shortly before the coronavirus crisis came to a head, the situation in the major Swiss regions was largely stable. In some cases, a slight increase in the number of job advertisements could be observed: while Espace Mittelland (+7%), Northwestern Switzerland (+7%) and the Lake Geneva Region (+6%) all posted slight gains, Central Switzerland (3%), the Greater Zurich Area (1%) and Eastern Switzerland (-1%) stagnated.
In Espace Mittelland, which recorded a 7% increase on the previous year before the coronavirus crisis hit, the number of job vacancies rose, particularly in the personal and social services professions, with 35% more than in the previous year. These include professions in the hospitality industry (e.g. service specialists) and teaching (e.g. primary school teachers), but also healthcare professions. All other occupational groups, however, stagnated between -1 and +1% here compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
In Northwestern Switzerland, the job market also grew by 7% in the first quarter of 2020 prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. The number of job advertisements for business services professions increased by 9%. This occupational group includes, for example, entrepreneurs or senior executives. Technology and IT professions recorded only a slight rise of 6%. In contrast, professions in industry and construction (+3%) and personal and social services (-1%) stagnated.
The Lake Geneva Region grew by 6% in the first quarter of 2020 just before the coronavirus crisis began. The number of job advertisements rose in both the technology and IT professions (+13%) and in business services (+10%). By contrast, job advertisements for professions in personal and social services (+3%) and in industry and construction (+2%) stagnated.
In Central Switzerland, job advertisements stagnated compared to the previous year with a slight increase of 3%. However, occupational groups developed differently in the first quarter of 2020. Whilst professions in industry and construction saw slight gains (+15%), all other professions declined somewhat: job advertisements for technology and IT professions fell by 9% and those for personal and social services professions dropped by 8%. At -3%, advertisements for business services professions stagnated at the previous year’s level.
A stagnation of job advertisements in the first quarter of 2020 was also observed in the Greater Zurich Area. However, occupational groups developed differently. Personal and social services increased by 14% compared to the previous year, with healthcare professions in particular being in greater demand. Growth was also observed in hospitality and housekeeping professions. In contrast, the number of job advertisements for professions in industry and construction fell by 15%, with industrial professions being responsible for this decline. Industrial professions include, for example, jobs in mechanical engineering or vehicle and equipment construction. The job market for technology and IT professions (0%) and business services (+1%) remained at the previous year’s level.
The job market in Eastern Switzerland remains at the previous year’s level (-1%). In the first quarter of 2020, the number of professions in engineering and IT fell 16%, with engineering and technical professions being most affected by the decline. Occupations in industry and construction as well as personal and social services still recorded slight increases of 6% and 5% respectively, and business services stagnated compared to the previous year (-2%).
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*Development of the job advertisments posted on online job portals from calendar week 48 in 2019 to calendar week 13 in 2020.
** The University of Zurich’s Swiss Job Market Monitor follows the development of job advertisments on online job portals at short intervals and has thus been able to track short-term developments in recent weeks in a highly up-to-date manner and make special analyses of the latest developments of the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index.
***Values from the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index (Job Index) are based on extensive, quarterly job advertisement counts, which are carried out during reference weeks (measurements for the first quarter of 2020 take place around calendar week 9) to ensure comparability over several years. They are based on job advertisements from company websites and job portals.
****The percentage values are based on the random sample from the Adecco Group Swiss Job Market Index