Advertised UK vacancies hit 19-month high
Average advertised vacancies currently reached a 19-month high (1,202,573) in June 2017, the highest number recorded since the 1,229,131 available in October 2015, according to the clever folks in the Adzuna data team.
Against a backdrop of Brexit negotiations forcing UK companies to scale back their hiring processes and pressure from inflation squeezing household disposable incomes, advertised vacancies have defied the odds to reach their highest level in two years. This means that jobseekers and employees have more options available than at any other point since the autumn of 2015. The jobs market has gone from strength to strength in terms of the variety and flexibility of roles up for grabs.
As in 2017, the spring of 2015 also saw a General Election and proved that the jobs market and advertised vacancy levels could hold up amid political uncertainty. However, average salaries were still increasing on an annual basis in the first half of 2015, a trend that would end in June of that year and salaries have remained stagnant ever since.
Fast forward to the present day and average salaries continue to feel the pinch as consumers are forced to be shrewder with spending power. According to the latest IHS Markit Household Finance Index, willingness to make big purchases has fallen to its lowest level since December 2013 as consumers are less prepared to spend money on luxury items such as holidays.
In terms of the regional breakdown of wages, London has shown an annual increase of 0.2% in advertised salaries in the year to June. While the rise may be marginal, this is the first time in two years – since July 2015 (0.9%) – there has been an annual increase in average salaries in the capital. Following 24 months of stagnation, average salaries in London now sit at £39,232, with 265,568 advertised vacancies available. This growth is in contrast to neighbouring South East England, which has witnessed a 2.3% year-on-year decrease, with advertised salaries at £30,986.
The effects of Brexit negotiations on the labour market remain uncertain according to the Centre for London Think Tank. A report suggested leaving the EU with no trade deal could potentially result in the loss of 70,000 City jobs. On the flip side, BMW and Amazon have recently made firm commitments to the UK labour market after BMW announced an electric version of the Mini will be built near Oxford rather than overseas, safeguarding 4,500 jobs. Retail powerhouse Amazon also outlined its intentions to increase the size of its new London headquarters by more than a third, creating hundreds more highly skilled tech jobs.
The rise in the number of vacancies highlights the resilience of the UK jobs market. Jobseekers are spoiled for choice by the expanding opportunities available. Although salary growth remains stagnant in most regions, it is encouraging to see London join Eastern England, Northern Ireland and Wales as an area where the green shoots of recovery are visible. With more than a quarter of a million openings in London at present, there are plenty of opportunities for modern day Dick Whittingtons to see if the capital’s streets really are paved with gold.
Scientific & quality assurance jobs escape the pressures of automation
The rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) has had a mixed impact across a range of sectors, with some immune and others expected to be completely revolutionised. But while AI can add value to highly skilled, tech-related and scientific jobs, more complicated tasks still require a higher level of human involvement compared to low-skilled jobs powered by manual labour where automation can bring improvements in speed, standardisation and efficiency. There will also be a raft of new jobs coming on stream to aid the development, production and maintenance of AI systems.
According to Adzuna data, scientific & quality assurance (QA) jobs have risen the ranks to become one of the best-performing sectors in terms of advertised salaries in the midst of this technological revolution. It’s likely that demand for Scientific & QA Jobs is increasing, as the top companies hiring for Scientific & QA Jobs are AstraZeneca and the University of Cambridge. With the rise of artificial intelligence and automation set to take over from manual labour and traditional ways of working in the future, average salaries for scientific & QA jobs are up 1.8% at £38,926 year-on-year.
A recent whitepaper by Adzuna showed that two thirds of the UK’s fastest declining occupations are falling in popularity as the effects of automation bite in many industries.
Legal profession receives salary and vacancy boost as crime rates soar
Winchester rises the ranks as a challenger city
Winchester has climbed a place to become the fifth best city in the UK to find a job. Known as the resting place of world-famous author Jane Austen, Winchester’s improving jobs market has given it another reason for renown. Competition for jobseekers per vacancy currently sits at 0.12, down by a fifth from May 2017. There are more than 2,000 jobs currently available in the Hampshire city, with the main companies recruiting at the moment including Voyage Care, Exclusive Hotels and Q-Hotels.