That’s according to the Recruitment Trends Snapshot report for the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).
Analysing daily hiring activity throughout March, the data found contract vacancies were down by 40% and interviews down by just over 50%.
On a monthly basis, permanent roles were down by almost 20% compared to February and contract figures were down almost 12%.
Yet APSCo said the data, in particular relating to job interviews, demonstrated that hiring managers are now using technology to ensure some job interviews are taking place, including within the HR sector.
Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo, said: “While many firms have slowed down hiring, they have not yet pressed stop and we are hearing from members that although this is undoubtedly a really tough period, there is definitely hiring still going on.
“There are obvious sectors such as life sciences, technology, healthcare and logistics registering live roles but also our members have reported activity in areas such as finance, HR and digital marketing."
Yet with many companies announcing cuts to their budgets, it is inevitable that unemployment rates will rise.
Wizz Air has been the latest firm to announce its plans to cut 1,000 jobs, equalling a fifth of its workforce.
Hospitality is one of the worst hit sectors, with 40% of listings equalling 25,000 advertised vacancies having been wiped out, according to job site Adzuna.