The scale of job losses revealed in the latest set of data from the Office for National Statistics comes as no surprise whatsoever, nor is it a shocking revelation that sectors such as retail, hospitality, leisure and construction are bearing the brunt of the fallout.

Everyone is painfully aware that we are in a recession unlike any in living memory. During the financial crisis of 2008-09, it took 18 months for advertised job vacancies to fall by a third; this time around, we’ve witnessed a crash of two-thirds in just six weeks.

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It was five years before the jobs market recovered from the financial sector’s meltdown, and the question now is how long it might take to get back to where we were before Covid-19. We have yet to see the full scale of the pandemic’s economic destruction, but initial indications suggest it will be difficult to beat that timeline.

However, there are some chinks of light. Preliminary data gathered by our Covid-19 business impact survey indicate that 30% of Scottish businesses intend to maintain or increase hiring levels during the next three months.

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This is being driven by the need for critical workers in sectors such as food production, health care and security. Since launching our Working for Scotland campaign, we’ve seen a 50% increase in applications for health and social care posts – roles which have traditionally been difficult to fill.

It’s interesting to note that banking and insurance are also among those where the job market is faring relatively better, highlighting the stark difference between this recession and that of 12 years ago.

On a regional basis, we see that the employment rate in London – one of the areas hit worst by coronavirus – currently stands at 76.9%, higher than the 74.7% in Scotland. It seems employers there have been keener to retain talent than those in this country.

Gavin Mochan is Commercial Director at s1.