The UK weather may be turning cold, but the British job market is heating up, and expectations remain high. The only dark cloud over our employment prospects this winter is the spectre of a skills shortage.
The Good News:
In December, available vacancies hit new record, with 968,273 advertised roles in the UK, up from 744,655 a year ago. With an impressive annual increase of 30% in available roles, 2014 undoubtedly ended on a high note for the jobs market.
The fearsome competition among jobseekers in the North of the country is receding with some significant improvements as all towns in UK saw less than 10 candidates per vacancy last month. Many areas of the North boasted significant improvements, with competition in Hull down from 16.7 applicants per role in December 2013 to just 4.6 in December 2014. Another key example of rising positivity in the North, Preston saw more vacancies than jobseekers for the first time in decades.
Competition for jobs also hit yet another milestone as the year drew to a close, with just 0.85 jobseekers competing for every vacancy. Nationwide, positivity abounded, as all 10 top job-hunting locations boasted two or more vacancies to every jobseeker
The Low Points:
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, commented: “The jobs market recovery is steaming ahead, leaving unemployment trailing in its wake. The number of jobs on offer has grown by almost a quarter over the last year, and we there are actually more vacancies available than there are people looking for jobs. Now, a new problem is rearing its head – we don’t have enough skilled workers to match demand for staff in booming industries like Manufacturing and IT. As a result, employers in these industries are offering more attractive salary packages, to tempt qualified workers across from their competitors.
“In recent months, the gap between inflation and pay has widened to a healthy margin, meaning employees are now seeing some real improvements in wages. But wider world events are working both with and against the wage rises. Falling fuel prices are forcing inflation downwards, but at the same time uncertainty in the Eurozone is dampening the economic recovery. And youth unemployment remains a thorn in the side of the jobs market revival. More needs to be done to help people break into the workforce – particularly those who are new to the jobs market and those whose skills don’t match up with the areas of growth. Encouraging employers to offer more apprenticeships to help workers up-skill on the job, would be one way to address this issue.”
So, where are all the jobs?
The North East tops the charts for salary growth, boasting the biggest year-on-year increases in advertised pay (13.7%). With Yorkshire & The Humber (12.3%) in second place, the South West, West Midlands, North West and Eastern England follow close behind, each with 10% growth.
The quota of available vacancies in London and Scotland both hit new records, with advertised positions in London rising to 202,114 while Scotland played host to 33,509 roles. Only two industries (the energy and legal sectors) saw sustained stagnation in advertised salary rates, one sector less than last year.
Drawing on Adzuna’s leading indicator data, the signs point to more good news to come. So, keep your eyes on the horizon for your next role. Best of luck!