Jobs market recovery stalls amid Brexit uncertainty

The jobs market has slowed significantly as uncertainty surrounding Brexit may have dampened demand for new hires, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna

February saw a total of 1,116,202 job vacancies advertised in the UK, down 10.3 per cent from the 1,244,772 seen three months earlier in November 2015. Employer’s enthusiasm to hire has cooled over the last three months as uncertainties within the jobs market, particularly a potential Brexit and the impact of the national living wage introduction, are creating an unpredictable environment. Prior to November, the jobs market saw ten consecutive months of improvements in job openings, but this trend has now faltered. This was further evident in a somewhat sluggish seasonal monthly improvement of 3.4 per cent from 1,079,711 in January – significantly behind the 4.2 per cent monthly rise previously seen in 2014 and 2015.

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Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “There are signs that caution is controlling the current UK jobs market and stalling the recovery. One possible explanation is that uncertainty around Brexit means hiring intentions have been paused. After a strong hiring outlook in the latter months of last year, it’s possible that attitudes to recruitment have begun to alter of late. Companies seem to be holding off on expanding their staff, instead preferring to sit tight and wait out the political bumps of the next couple of months. For jobseekers, this means fewer available positions and fewer choices are on offer.”

Average advertised salaries have struggled to make significant gains as employers adopt a cautious approach to pay. February’s UK average stood at £33,800 – increasing by just 0.6 per cent from £33,593 in January. On an annual basis, the average advertised salary is 2.4 per cent lower year-on-year than £34,627 in February 2015.

Across the last three months, all UK regions have witnessed vacancy numbers fall, with the South East seeing the largest drop (-15.6 per cent), followed closely by Northern Ireland (-15.4 per cent) and South West England (-12.6 per cent). Scotland meanwhile, despite the ongoing struggles in the energy sector, saw the second smallest decline of -7.6 per cent. London proved the most resilient region to decreases, experiencing a fall of -6.8 per cent over the same period.

Debbie Carter

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