What industries were hit worst by both Brexit and COVID-19?

Job applications to the catering, sales and automotive industry have experienced the worst drops during the Brexit process and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is according to research from CV-Library, which found that overall, job adverts dropped in Q1 by 4.1 per cent year-on-year. The cities that experienced the biggest drops were Birmingham (down 9.3 per cent), Leeds (down 9.2 per cent), Exeter (down 8.8 per cent) and Hull (down 5.2 per cent).

The top 10 sectors that saw the biggest drop in job adverts thanks to Brexit and COVID-19 are:

  • Catering – down 52.8 per cent
  • Sales – down 23.8 per cent
  • Automotive – down 22.6 per cent
  • Recruitment – down 17.8 per cent
  • Administration – down 16.7 per cent
  • Retail – down 14 per cent
  • Customer Service – down 13.6 per cent
  • Marketing – down 13.5 per cent
  • Manufacturing – down 12.1 per cent
  • Leisure/Tourism – down 12 per cent


Not only job adverts are falling but also salary, as hospitality pay decreased by 9 per cent, catering by 5 per cent and leisure/tourism by 3 per cent. Industries that hire key workers have also witnessed a drop in pay as agriculture is down by 17 per cent, distribution by 6 per cent and public sector by 7 per cent.

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said:

It really has been a tumultuous start to the year and it’s having a massive impact on UK businesses and the wider economy. While measures are being put in place to protect companies and their employees, the reality is that both Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic will have long-lasting effects on the UK labour market and we’re already starting to see this.

The job market has been largely candidate driven for a number of years now and this meant that businesses had no choice but to hike up their pay packets in order to attract applicants to their roles. However, we’re already seeing a shift in this pattern and it’s clearly impacting salaries. Unemployment rates are set to soar in the coming months and this could be financially devastating for UK professionals.

Despite there being less jobs on offer, applications have risen and the driving factor behind this is the fact that a lot of people are out of work right now. Whether they’re on furlough or they’ve been made redundant, this has clearly led to more people looking for new jobs. At the same time, a number of these sectors are hiring for key workers and job seekers are reacting to market demand.

It’s difficult to predict how the labour market will perform in the next quarter, but sadly, it doesn’t look promising. While more professionals will be keen to find new job opportunities, organisations are suffering badly at the helm of COVID-19 and many are holding back on their hiring efforts as a result.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.