The odds of finding a job are the worst in 50 years, with thousands of people chasing a handful of vacancies at firms across the UK, research suggests.
A study by the Alliance For Full Employment (AFFE), formed by politicians across the country including former Chancellor and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, uncovered a series of “shocking” vacancies-to-jobseeker ratios.
In one case 15,000 people were chasing 10 assembly operative jobs in Birmingham; in another 4,228 people applied for a trainee paralegal legal position in London; while there were 1,000 applications for a receptionist role at a restaurant in London.
They weren’t the only examples either, with 2,154 applicants for an administrator position in Coventry; 2,653 applicants for an assembly operative position in Sunderland; 2,932 applications to be a warehouse worker in Northumberland; and 1,656 applicants to be an NHS 111 call handler in London.
Brown said: “You’re almost as likely to win the National Lottery as this jobs lottery. This is not the levelling up that we were promised.”
He urged the Government to enact an emergency jobs recovery programme or the odds on finding a job will get worse.
The former prime minister said that with millions more people facing redundancy after the furlough scheme ends on October 31, the prospects of gaining employment will diminish still further.
Before the pandemic, job vacancies were usually around 500,000 – one for every two to three people unemployed
Job vacancies now have fallen to 330,000, lower than in the recession that followed the financial crash a decade ago, Mr Brown said.
AFFE co-founder and Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram said: “You cannot build an economic recovery on mass unemployment.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “We are staring the danger of mass unemployment in the face and only urgent Government action can prevent a jobs catastrophe. I urge ministers to act on the AFFE agenda without delay.”
Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “After a very brief flirtation with using the power of our state to protect livelihoods, the Tories have sadly returned to form and a jobs massacre is on its way unless they rapidly change course.
“We urgently need a policy rethink as the alliance is rightly advocating. We can’t allow the Government to create a jobs lottery for millions of our people.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “These alarming figures, coming as we face the threat of the economy collapsing and unemployment rocketing, show just how vital it is that the goal of full employment is placed at the heart of policymaking.
“In Scotland, almost 350,000 workers are facing a furlough cliff-edge next month and this could lead to long-term unemployment on a scale the people of Scotland have not seen in their lifetimes.”
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