Which sectors have seen the biggest drop in applications?

A list has been compiled that shows the top ten sectors which have experienced the greatest drop in applications over the past five years.

This data was compiled by CV-Library. The list is as follows:

  1. Retail (down 43.8 per cent)
  2. Catering (down 32.7 per cent)
  3. Administration (down 16.6 per cent)
  4. Customer Service (down 16.1 per cent)
  5. Recruitment (down 9.8 per cent)
  6. Electronics (down 5.4 per cent)
  7. Medical (down 5.3 per cent)
  8. Charity (down 2.9 per cent)
  9. Social Care (down 1.4 per cent)
  10. Education (down 0.3 per cent)


Even though these industries have witnessed a drop in applications, the number of jobs being advertised in these areas has actually grown. Social care has seen an increase of 106 per cent, charity 78 per cent, education 78 per cent, medical 76 per cent, admin 72 per cent, customer service 72 per cent, retail 72 per cent, recruitment 44 per cent, electronics 44 per cent and catering 28 per cent.

Research even shows that 57 per cent of recruiters now plan on hiring outside of their industry to combat this.

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

The UK skills crisis is a problem that isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Plus, it may worsen when the new immigration laws come into effect early next year, particularly for sectors that are heavily reliant on EU talent to fill their vacancies. For recruiters working in agencies, or in-house atorganisations, there’s immense pressure to source the best candidates and fast. But this simply isn’t achievable when people aren’t actively looking for new jobs. There’s definitely pressure to take a more proactive approach and think outside the box if you want to be a step ahead of the competition.

When it comes to finding the right candidates for your vacancies, you’ll want to make sure they match up to set criteria for the role. However, when skill shortages are rife you should definitely consider hiring someone based on their potential, rather than their experience. It’s not always an easy sell, but it can pay off massively and may be the only option in certain industries where you don’t need specific qualifications to apply.

CV-Library was able to put this list together by comparing the applications made via its bob board in 2019 in contrast to 2014.





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.