New record number of job adverts in the UK, with labour shortages set to continue (@RECPress)

In the week of 13-19 September, there were 1.90 million active job adverts posted in the UK, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker . This is a new record high for the tracker, which started collecting data in January 2020.

There were 223,000 new job adverts posted last week, the second highest weekly figure since data collection began. Moreover, this growth was seen across the entire country, with every upper tier local authority in the UK seeing a rise in active job postings last week. This all suggests that the current labour shortage problems are not going away as demand for staff increases.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“Job postings are rising in every area of the UK. That’s good news, and we are seeing more employees starting new positions than ever – but demand from employers is even higher still. There is a real chance now that shortages of available workers will slow the recovery. A recent REC survey of recruiters found that three in five have over 30% more vacancies than usual, and 97% said it’s taking longer to fill them. Labour shortages and the related recruitment difficulties put constraints on the economy, restricting output growth and innovation, so it’s vital we solve them quickly.

“Government departments must come together with industry experts to solve the shortage crisis with pragmatic and practical steps. But politicians and businesses must also do their part individually – government by addressing training at lower skill levels and allowing more flexibility in the immigration system; and companies by improving workforce planning and focusing on improved conditions and facilities as ways to attract and retain staff, not just pay.”

While growth was recorded in every local area in the UK, Scotland saw the largest increase in active job postings last week. Four out of the top ten hiring hotspots last week were in Scotland, the most notable being Na h-Eileanan Siar (+29.0%). This was followed by the Shetland Islands (+21.9%), Perth and Kinross and Stirling (+17.8%) and the Orkney Islands (+13.1%).

Thurrock (+1.3%), North and North East Lincolnshire (+1.5%), and Isle of Wight (+1.5%) were the areas that recorded only a marginal increase in active job postings compared to the rest of the UK.

There was a significant increase in adverts for education roles as students returned to classrooms in September. Support roles such as school secretaries (+17.6%), school midday and crossing patrol occupations (+16.4%), educational support assistants (+9.8%) and caretakers (+9.6%) recorded the highest increases in active job postings in the week of 13-19 September.

On the other hand, dispensing opticians (-11.4%), photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators (-9.2%), and pharmacy and other dispensing assistants (-7.2%) saw the steepest weekly declines in active job adverts.

Matt Mee, Director of Workforce Intelligence at Emsi Burning Glass, said:

“The labour market in the UK is in a somewhat odd position at the moment. On the one hand, we are seeing a very high number of vacancies and job postings. On the other hand, employers in a number of sectors are reporting that they are really struggling to fill these positions, which is not really something we would have expected to see a few months ago. Nor is this a peculiarly British phenomenon, with a recent survey of 45,000 companies across 43 countries showing 69% of organisations reporting difficulties in filling roles. Although this appears to be driven by a variety of factors, what it suggests is that employers are going to have to work harder to fill their vacancies if they are to survive and thrive. This might mean a number of things, including raising the salaries they are offering; charting clearer and better career progressions for employees; looking for talent pools in other areas; and seeking to create better and more flexible working conditions to attract new workers.”

Top ten and bottom ten county/unitary authorities for growth in job postings:

County/unitary authority

Unique active job postings, 13-19 September

Change in active job postings, 6-12 September to 13-19 September

Na h-Eileanan Siar

7,800

29.0%

Shetland Islands

1,295

21.9%

Perth and Kinross and Stirling

9,502

17.8%

Stoke-on-Trent

6,341

17.2%

Newry, Mourne and Down

2,854

13.8%

Swansea

5,253

13.3%

Orkney Islands

441

13.1%

Wolverhampton

5,836

12.4%

Southend-on-Sea

2,908

11.8%

Greater Manchester South East

8,760

11.4%

-

 

 

 

 

Telford and Wrekin

4,991

3.4%

Tower Hamlets

5,716

3.2%

Mid Lancashire

18,001

3.0%

Argyll and Bute

2,045

2.9%

South Ayrshire

1,633

2.6%

Kingston upon Hull, City of

5,643

2.6%

Dudley

5,081

1.8%

Isle of Wight

1,846

1.5%

North and North East Lincolnshire

5,317

 

 

1.5%

 

 

Thurrock

6,249

1.3%

Top ten and bottom ten occupations by growth in job postings:                 

Occupation

Unique active job postings, 13-19 September

Change in active job postings, 6-12 September to 13-19 September

School secretaries

2,678

17.6%

School midday and crossing patrol occupations

2,478

 

 

16.4%

 

 

Podiatrists

749

12.0%

Building and civil engineering technicians

1,516

 

 

11.5%

 

 

Protective service associate professionals

596

 

 

10.8%

 

 

Town planning officers

1,281

10.5%

Educational support assistants

10,689

 

 

9.8%

 

 

Postal workers, mail sorters, messengers and couriers

2,251

 

 

9.6%

 

 

Caretakers

2,644

9.6%

Market research interviewers

1,583

 

 

9.2%

 

 

-

 

 

 

 

Refuse and salvage occupations

1,849

-0.1%

 

 

Glaziers, window fabricators and fitters

577

-1.5%

 

 

Vehicle paint technicians

316

-1.6%

Vehicle valeters and cleaners

722

-1.6%

 

 

Conference and exhibition managers and organisers

7,271

-1.7%

 

 

Butchers

317

-2.8%

Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants

383

-5.7%

 

 

Pharmacy and other dispensing assistants

3,477

-7.2%

 

 

Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators

 

1,541

 

 

-9.2%

 

 

Dispensing opticians

884

-11.4%

Key indicator occupations                                         

Occupation

Unique active job postings, 13-19 September

Change in active job postings, 6-12 September to 13-19 September

Metal working production and maintenance fitters

22,956

8.7%

Chefs

36,471

7.8%

Chartered and certified accountants

4,360

6.7%

Fitness instructors

4,078

6.4%

Marketing associate professionals

29,086

 

 

6.0%

 

 

Carpenters and joiners

6,888

5.6%

Cleaners and domestics

28,220

5.6%

Sales and retail assistants

32,615

5.4%

Programmers and software development professionals

75,472

 

 

5.2%

 

 

Primary and nursery education teaching professionals

32,942

 

 

5.0%

 

 

Nurses

87,680

4.8%

Care workers and home carers

55,019

 

 

3.9%

 

 

Waiters and waitresses

4,034

2.2%

Large goods vehicle drivers

7,513

2.0%

Hairdressers and barbers

1,090

1.4%

Mechanical engineers

705

1.3%

Bar staff

6,557

1.1%

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