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Job search and mismatch throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, Camila Comunello, Alex Clymo, Annette Jäckle, Ludo Visschers, David Zentler-Munro 07 April 2022

The energy of the labour market restoration from Covid-19, and the extent of the financial scarring, rely on each job creation and whether or not job seekers search for jobs within the rising sectors of the economic system. This column makes use of a novel dataset to offer direct proof on the sorts of jobs sought by employees throughout the pandemic. It exhibits that employees more and more focused jobs in increasing occupations and industries. Nonetheless, a major proportion of employees focused jobs in declining occupations and industries. These employees are typically probably the most deprived: the non-employed and people with the bottom training {qualifications}.

The coexistence of numerous out there jobs and lots of jobless employees is commonly seized upon as proof that the jobless should not keen to work. One other risk is that there’s a basic mismatch between the sorts of jobs that companies are promoting and the sorts of jobs that employees are in search of or have the {qualifications} to carry out. These concepts have come to the fore amid tales of labour shortages following the Covid-19 pandemic, and appear to inspire coverage measures such because the UK authorities imposing profit sanctions on job searchers who fail to search for jobs exterior their previous sector or occupation. Evaluation in Anayi et al. (2021) recommend unemployment from mismatch is a really actual prospect for the US and UK within the wake of the pandemic. This may increasingly have penalties for not solely labour markets however combination productiveness too. Patterson et al. (2016) argue that labour market mismatch defined round two-thirds of the shortfall of UK productiveness relative to development after the 2007-08 Nice Recession.

Earlier makes an attempt to measure so-called ‘mismatch’ unemployment have confronted the problem that information on the kind of jobs sought by employees is commonly not available. Usually researchers are pressured to imagine that job searchers look completely for jobs of their previous sector or occupation (Sahin et al. 2014). In current work (Carrillo-Tudela et al. 2022), we take a look at these questions extra instantly by exploiting a wealthy and novel information set: the job-search module of the UK Family Longitudinal Research (UKHLS). This module requested respondents who have been in search of a job to checklist the occupation and trade that they have been concentrating on. These information are wealthy in info that may information our understanding of unemployment dynamics and inform the suitable coverage response.

Employees present flexibility in the kind of job they seek for

Our first key discovering is that job seekers considerably adjusted their job search in favour of the industries and occupations that expanded throughout the pandemic. As of June 2020, about 58% of job seekers focused occupations that have been experiencing will increase of their employment ranges throughout the pandemic. This proportion elevated to 70% by January 2021, as illustrated in Determine 1, which exhibits the p.c of job seekers itemizing a given occupation as their first desire of their job search. The rising occupations have been these which usually require increased expertise, supply increased wages, and supply extra alternatives to do business from home. Throughout industries, about 41% of job seekers focused increasing industries in June 2020 and this proportion elevated to 50% in January 2021. So, even within the absence of profit sanctions, employees endogenously change their search path to focus on increasing occupations and industries.           

Determine 1 Employees more and more goal increasing occupations

Deprived employees extra prone to goal declining industries and occupations

Nonetheless, we nonetheless see a major proportion of job seekers concentrating on declining occupations and industries: the query is why? Our second key discovering is that these on the margins of the labour market have been most definitely to focus on declining industries and occupations. For instance, we discover that non-employed employees have been considerably extra prone to goal a declining trade and occupation of their job search.1 These with the bottom training ranges have been additionally considerably extra prone to goal declining occupations. These outcomes maintain true even when conditioning on previous occupation or trade, so they don’t seem to be merely a mirrored image of attachment to earlier jobs. Nonetheless, attachment does play a task as employees from a declining trade (occupation) usually tend to goal a declining trade (occupation), suggesting these employees could also be trapped in ‘dangerous job’ cycles. The flip facet of that is that employed or increased training employees usually tend to goal increasing industries and occupations, as are those that have beforehand labored in these jobs, implying a extra ‘virtuous’ job-cycle for these employees. 

It takes two to tango: Employees’ willingness to change not all the time matched by companies’ willingness to rent switching employees

Third, and eventually, there’s a substantial mismatch between the kind of profession transitions employees are in search of and the kind of transitions they make. Amongst these concentrating on any occupation change, the proportion of employees efficiently transitioning into an increasing occupation was decrease than the proportion of job seekers concentrating on a change into an increasing occupation, significantly for these people coming from declining occupations (Determine 2). This means the presence of a glass ceiling that inhibits employees in declining occupations from realising their need to change into increasing occupations.2 This could maybe not be a shock given employee reallocation is an equilibrium end result of employee and agency behaviour. Companies should be keen to rent employees from different sectors, in addition to employees being keen to seek for jobs exterior of their sector, for a change to happen.

Determine 2 Focused versus realised occupation switches

Implications: Serving to employees and employers bridge the hole

The three key findings above are wealthy in implications for the associated coverage debate. First, we noticed that employees, together with the non-employed, endogenously change their search path in the direction of increasing elements of the economic system with none impetus from the advantages regime. This calls into query measures to impose profit sanctions on unemployed employees who don’t search exterior their earlier occupation and sector.3  

Second, we noticed that these employees that did goal declining occupations have been extra prone to be non-employed or have low training {qualifications}. This factors to the significance of retraining/teaching programs for the jobless, in addition to the availability of job search help. Through the pandemic, the UK authorities supplied funding for adults to accumulate an A-level equal qualification if they didn’t already possess one. Nonetheless, it isn’t clear that is ample to bridge the hole between the abilities demanded by employers and people possessed by job searchers.4 

The significance of retraining schemes can be prompt by our third discovering exhibiting the employees from declining occupations change into increasing occupations much less often than they need. Occupation mobility could subsequently be inhibited by companies’ willingness to rent employees who lack earlier expertise in a selected occupation or trade. This means insurance policies that focus on companies in addition to employees might have a task in encouraging reallocation. This might embrace the availability of wage subsidies for companies that retrain or rent unemployed employees in roles they don’t have earlier expertise in. Stantcheva (2022) highlights the optimistic report of such employer-focused energetic labour market insurance policies within the US. Fujita et al. (2020) additionally spotlight the potential function of wage subsidies of the younger in selling an optimum allocation of employees throughout sectors. 

Briefly, our work exhibits that employees do are likely to seek for jobs within the rising elements of the economic system. Nonetheless, probably the most deprived employees could require help to efficiently receive these jobs and employers can play an vital function on this. 


Anayi, L, J M Barrero, N Bloom, P Bunn, S Davis, J Leather-based, B Meyer, M Oikonomou, E Mihaylov, P Mizen and G Thwaites (2021), “Labour market reallocation within the wake of Covid-19”,, 13 August.

Carrillo-Tudela, C, A Clymo, C Comunello, A Jaeckle, L Visschers and D Zentler-Munro (2022), “Search and Reallocation within the Covid-19 Pandemic: Proof from the UK”, CEPR Dialogue Paper 17067. 

Duchini, E, S Stefania and A Turrell (2020), “Pay transparency and gender equality“, CAGE On-line Working Paper Sequence 482, Aggressive Benefit within the World Economic system (CAGE).

Fujita, S, G Moscarini and F Postel-Vinay (2020), “The labour market coverage response to COVID-19 should leverage the ability of age”,, 15 Could.

Patterson, C, A Sahin, G Topa and G Violante (2016), “Working Onerous within the Unsuitable Place: A Mismatch-Based mostly Rationalization to UK Productiveness Puzzle”, European Financial Evaluate 84: 42-56.

Sahin, A, J Music, G Topa and G Violante (2014), “Mismatch Unemployment”, American Financial Evaluate 104(11): 3529-64.

Stantcheva, S (2022), “Inequalities within the Occasions of a Pandemic”, Working Paper.


1 See leads to Desk 2 of Carrillo-Tudela et al. (2022).

2 The concept there are social and financial boundaries stopping mobility between occupations is checked out extensively within the gender earnings literature (see Duchini et al. (2020) for instance).

3 The UK Authorities did precisely this in January 2022:

4 An A-level is usually the very best qualification obtainable throughout secondary training in England, Wales, and Northern Eire. Particulars of coverage announcement summarised right here:



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