A new report from ONS states that elementary occupations (including construction labourers, security guards, or cleaners) have the highest number of employees who are vulnerable to job insecurity because of the pandemic. Skilled trade occupations (including electricians, gardeners, or tailors) have the highest proportion of employees who are vulnerable. Meanwhile, most professional occupations (including teachers, healthcare specialists, or those who can work easily from home) fall into the least vulnerable categories when it comes to job security.
At Registry Trust we maintain the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines which gives us access to live data that can be used an indicator of indebtedness and financial vulnerability on a regional level. We aim to use this data for ‘public good’ and one of the ways in which we do this is by monitoring trends coming out of relevant research and mapping them against CCJ rates to provide a more detailed picture of where issues are emerging.
In the case of these ONS findings we hypothesised that regions with the highest job vulnerability would also have the highest unemployment/underemployment, and thus susceptibility to financial vulnerability. Therefore, we expected these areas to have high levels of problem debt in future. Prior Registry Trust analysis shows a strong correlation between high levels of debt and high CCJ rates. Thus, we expected that these areas with high levels of vulnerable jobs were likely to have a high density of CCJs, resulting in problems in those areas in future, for example regarding access to credit.
To test this hypothesis, we worked on the basis that it is likely that areas with a higher proportion of ‘professional’ workers compared to ‘skilled trade/elementary’ workers will have experienced less job vulnerability throughout the pandemic. Using ONS data, we categorised skilled trade/elementary occupations as ‘Construction’, ‘Motor Trades’, ‘Wholesale’ and ‘Retail’. The employment indicators used for professionals were ‘Education’, ‘Health’, ‘Professional, Scientific or Technical’, and ‘Finance and Insurance’. We calculated the proportion of individuals employed in secure jobs more than insecure jobs.
The data table below shows London experienced the smallest change in job vulnerability due to the pandemic with 83.97% more people in professional roles than in skilled trade/elementary roles. The North West and North East have 46.25% and 44.04% more people in ‘professional’ roles than in ‘skilled trade/elementary’ roles. These are considerably lower than London, but still above the average regional rate of 39%.
The South East has only 13.78% more people employed in professional occupations than skilled trade/elementary jobs. However, due to its close proximity to London this percentage was expected to be higher.
Yorkshire and Humber can expect to have been hit hard, with only 15.63% more individuals working in ‘professional’ roles than ‘skilled trade/elementary’ roles.
As noted earlier, we predicted that regions with a high proportion of vulnerable jobs would also have high rates of CCJs (due to high financial vulnerability). Interestingly though, this is not the case. The graph below shows regions with high CCJ rates as having high percentages of individuals who work in professional jobs more than skilled trade/elementary jobs. This trend is true even when excluding London from analysis.
Surprisingly, the areas with highest proportion of vulnerable jobs did not have high % of overindebted households. However, it is likely their high proportion of vulnerable jobs will affect the region’s rates of indebtedness in the future.
Yorkshire & Humber is characterised by already high rates of CCJs and now has high rates of job insecurity. This is likely to compound the existing problems of indebtedness and policy makers should prepare to stabilise future financial vulnerability in this region.
We will be keeping a close eye on our regional data as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to unfold. We would urge organisations to use this insight to inform where targeted support is directed. If you are interested in talking to us about this in more depth, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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