Online job ads fell by a record 12.6 per cent in January, with human resources among the hardest-hit sectors.
The Olivier Job Index recorded the biggest monthly decline in its eight-year history, reporting there are now just two-thirds of the jobs advertised online than there were a year ago.
Financial services jobs suffered a 20.8 per cent fall in January but human resources was close behind, down 20.1 per cent. This is the worst monthly result for the HR sector since May 2001, and job ads have fallen by 51 per cent over the past year.
Olivier Group director Bob Olivier notes that January is "the low point of the employment year, and traditionally negative and volatile". But despite the data being seasonally adjusted, job ads in all sectors declined.
Trades and services jobs weathered the storm most successfully, falling just 0.8 per cent last month, while healthcare job ads declined by 1.8 per cent.
On the bright side, Olivier says applicant numbers are up and the calibre is "extremely good".
Not all available candidates have been laid off, as many have had contracts come to end.
"This flow of talent is better than any employer will have experienced over the past five years. Still, it may be a mistake to wait too long in the hope that even better quality candidates will come along.
"In the current market employers may not increase their teams but this is a great chance to strengthen them."
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