The number of active job advertisements across the UK has risen steadily since late March 2022 but the lower level of new job ads suggests heightened economic uncertainty.
According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest labour market tracker there were about 1.81 million active job ads in the UK in the week of 25 April-1 May. This was 7% more than the previous week and a 15% increase from a month earlier.
However, the number of new job advertisements being posted has stabilised at a lower level than it had been in early 2022. There were 173,000 new postings in the final week of April, what the REC called “a healthy level of activity by historical standards”.
The rising number of active postings reflected job ads being left open for longer, said the REC, with employers across the country struggling to attract candidates for their vacancies.
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “The number of new job postings has remained relatively stable for the past few weeks, despite concern about rising inflation. But the jobs market remains tight – the rising number of active adverts indicates that some firms are struggling to hire.
“That makes it a great time to be looking for a new role, but it’s important that employers look closely at all aspects of their offer to candidates and consult with a recruitment expert to make sure they get the quality staff they need.”
The data reveals that almost every occupational group saw an increase in active job adverts last week. The steepest weekly growth in adverts was for precision instrument makers and repairers (+15.4%). The business and accounting sector also saw significant increases in job ads in the last week of April, such as for chartered and certified accountants (+13.9%), collector salespersons and credit agents (+12.4%), and financial managers and directors (+10.5%).
There were only four occupations that saw decreases in active job adverts last week – postal workers and couriers (-5.5%), security occupations (-2.3%), furniture makers and woodworkers (-0.3%), and forestry workers (-0.3%).
The top hiring hotspot in the UK was Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire (+34.7%), followed by Westminster (+14.3%), Milton Keynes (+11.8%) and Lambeth in south London (+11.7%). Only two areas saw a decrease in job ads, both in Northern Ireland: Ards and North Down (-2.2%) and Mid and East Antrim (-0.5%), but growth was weak across much of Northern Ireland and Scotland.
For John Gray, vice president, UK operations at Emsi Burning Glass, the figures showed that employers were treading more carefully than at the start of the year. He said the 173,000 new postings – far below the peak of nearly 240,000 in mid-March – indicated economic uncertainty.
“This seems to indicate a couple of things. Firstly, the downturn in new postings suggests that employers are being more cautious than they were at the start of the year, which may be a reflection of the renewed economic uncertainty we are currently seeing. Secondly, the fact that the number of active positions continue to grow suggests that they are still keeping positions open, but are finding it hard to fill them, which reflects the very tight labour market we saw emerging in the post-Covid economy in late 2021.”
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