Impact of COVID-19 on hiring in Europe

Today, LinkedIn Senior Economist Mariano Mamertino shared a post about how COVID-19 has impacted hiring in Europe. We’re sharing his full post here as well:  

As countries around the world try to manage the impact of COVID-19 on their economies, LinkedIn's hiring rate (a measure of hires divided by LinkedIn membership) gives us early insight into how the labour market is responding and what might lie ahead. Last week, we published insights on how COVID-19 is impacting hiring in China and Italy, the two most impacted countries, and what that means in the U.S. We now have new insights on what the picture looks like for the UK and France.   

It’s clear that the hiring rate has declined across these European countries as the COVID-19 situation has become more serious in each country. However, LinkedIn’s data shows that the hiring rate has already started to improve in China, after the country followed aggressive containment efforts and saw progress in stemming the spread of the virus. 

We’ll continue to monitor our data there, and globally, to see what we can expect as the impact of the virus makes its way around the world. 

Below is a recap of what we are seeing across each of these countries (data covers the 7 days to March 21st).

Both China and Italy showed a pattern that shortly after each country issued mandatory quarantines, national hiring fell sharply. 


  • About two weeks after we saw hiring growth contract in China, it fell to a low of -45% YoY. Hiring has slowly started to rebound as containment of the virus takes effect, but it is still hovering at -24% YoY as people go back to work.


  • As Italy issued a mandatory lockdown earlier this month, hiring in the country also fell. Three days after the country went on lockdown, hiring growth dropped into the negative. And one week after the initial dip, hiring growth plummeted to a low of -40% YoY. It currently stands at -46%.

United Kingdom 

Based on the hiring trends we’re observing in China and Italy, we anticipate that hiring growth in the UK will accelerate its decline in the coming days: 

  • ONS data published on Tuesday 17th March showed that, in January, the UK labour market looked robust: employment stood at a record high, unemployment was low and (real) wages had finally climbed above their pre-crisis peak.
  • An early look at our daily hiring rate shows a slowdown is already happening, with the hiring rate falling below zero.
  • We are however seeing some pockets of better news with some companies announcing new roles that are helping to mitigate the overall headwinds. In particular, Morrisons announced that it is creating 3,500 new jobs in the UK to help with the current scale of home delivery demand, and Co-op has created 5,000 new jobs for people who have lost jobs amid the coronavirus crisis.


In France, a strict lockdown started on Tuesday March 17th and, at the same time, hiring trends have started to mirror those observed in China and Italy, when those countries announced containment measures. 

  • We anticipate that hiring growth in France will continue its decline in the coming days.
  • Before COVID-19 hit Europe, the France labour market looked robust with the unemployment rate falling under 8% in Q4 2019, the lowest since the end of 2008. Almost half of the decline in French unemployment since 2016 has occurred over the five quarters to Q4 2019, indicating that the labour market recovery was deepening.