As of September, 41 out of the top 56 UK cities do not have enough applicants to fill advertised roles. By comparison, a year ago only 27 cities lacked enough jobseekers to fill available positions.
Advertised vacancies are increasing steadily, as seasonal roles and graduate jobs flood the market. There were 1,178,129 vacancies in September, 2.4 per cent higher than August’s figures and up 30.0 per cent compared to twelve months ago. Despite these rises, positions are proving increasingly hard to fill.
The number of jobseekers has fallen to 685,456, the first time since the recession this figure has dropped under 700,000. More workers are entering part-time and temporary jobs, while some jobseekers are looking to self-employment for a regular income, further depleting the number of job hunters competing for permanent positions.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Job competition has fallen to its lowest level since the recession, which should spell good news for those searching for work. But despite the number of positions growing with a new vigour, the significant skills shortage within the labour force means vacancies are increasingly being left empty.
“Many cities don’t have enough home-grown talent to fill new positions, meaning companies are increasingly relying on workers from elsewhere in the UK as well as from overseas. For many jobseekers, the solution to finding employment is increased mobility, but the traditional migration from North to South needs to be broadened. Flexibility is emerging as a key requirement.
“With the arrival of Crossrail in the future and ever-extending transport networks set to benefit all regions of the country, migrating to a different city could be the proactive approach to securing work. Graduates in particular, should look beyond London and embrace a new appetite for adventure when it comes to work location.
“There is another solution to the talent drought too: increasing the productivity of the workers we do have. After the recession bit, many jobseekers took up part-time roles or ventured into self-employment – meaning much of our workforce is operating at less-than-full capacity. To counteract this, employees may have to start staying in the office longer. Clocking in and out may become a thing of the past. Higher investment in the latest technologies and infrastructure will also help employers to maximise the output of exiting talent. Retraining staff will play a key part in improving productivity too.”
The UK unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008, falling to 5.4 per cent in September, according to data from the ONS. The average UK advertised salary fell to £33,121 in September, dropping 0.6 per cent from £33,318 in August and 4.5 per cent down compared to £34,695 twelve months before. This is in part due to an influx of temporary seasonal roles ahead of the Christmas season, as well as the recent flood of graduate positions advertised and an uplift in lower-paid roles.
Wages for those in work, however, are rising, with the latest ONS data showing pay for employees has risen 2.8 per cent year-on-year, excluding bonuses. Employers are recognising the difficulty in recruiting top talent, and are raising the salaries of existing staff to help increase employee retention.
“Advertised salaries are beginning to dip, alongside the temperature. Jobseekers are entering a hostile environment as salaries fall sharply across all regions. This is partly due to an increase in seasonal work, as well as the boom in graduate roles typically seen in autumn. Not only this, salaries are suffering as companies retract from the war on talent and focus on upskilling workers and offering valuable apprenticeship schemes, in-house training and opportunities – all of which mean less money left over for advertised salaries,” added Hunter.
The South of England leads the country for the best jobseeker prospects, as Cambridge maintains its lead with 0.09 applicants per vacancy. Southern strongholds including Exeter, Oxford and Reading also performed well. Meanwhile fortunes for jobseekers in Wolverhampton worsened and the city now has 2.25 jobseekers applicants per vacancy. The North East similarly struggled to show an improvement, with job hunters in the region facing tough competition for each role.