Active job adverts in the UK have returned to pre-COVID levels. But who’s calling the shots: workers or employers?
After weeks of sustained growth, June so far has seen a total of 1.63 million active job adverts in the UK, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s Jobs Recovery Tracker. This is 300,000 more than three months earlier and around the same level as early March 2020, before the first coronavirus lockdown came into effect.
- 1.63 million active job adverts in the UK in the first week of June
- 208,000 new job adverts posted in the last week of May, the third highest weekly total since the pandemic began
- Another 156,000 new job adverts in the first week of June, which contained Bank Holiday and school half-term holidays
- Continued high demand for hospitality roles, and increase in adverts for other skilled occupations like teachers and welders
- In the first week of June, Thurrock was the top hiring hotspot, while other areas in the UK only recorded a marginal increase in active job adverts
- East Dunbartonshire recorded the biggest fall in active job postings, followed by Dorset and Angus
Occupations in highest demand
Teaching and other educational professionals (+17.8%) was the occupation with the highest weekly increase in active job postings in the first week of June. This is likely to reflect seasonal demand, as teachers moving schools in September have to resign by 31 May, said the REC.
Programmers and software developers, care workers and home carers and marketing professionals are also in high demand.
There was also growth in adverts for other skilled roles such as welders (+6.6%), metalworking machine operatives (+3.7%) and other skilled trades (+3.5%). Demand for bar staff continued to rise (+4.0%) as more people returned to pubs and restaurants.
This increased demand for skilled workers has highlighted the ongoing skills shortages in the UK economy. It is essential that both the government and employers work together to address and resolve the issue, so it doesn’t threaten the UK’s recovery in the coming months and years.
|Top ten and bottom ten occupations by growth in job postings:||Unique active job postings, 31 May-6 June||Change in active job postings, 24-30 May to 31 May-6 June|
|Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c.||17,219||17.80%|
|Other elementary services occupations n.e.c.||562||7.70%|
|Metal working machine operatives||312||3.70%|
|Other skilled trades n.e.c.||818||3.50%|
|Metal machining setters and setter-operators||3,061||3.40%|
|Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants||309||3.00%|
|Bricklayers and masons||1,856||-8.10%|
|Protective service associate professionals n.e.c.||658||-8.60%|
|IT operations technicians||11,955||-9.00%|
|Plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers||9,481||-11.00%|
|Roofers, roof tilers and slaters||1,432||-15.80%|
|Bus and coach drivers||1,309||-18.10%|
|Occupation||Unique active job postings, 31 May-6 June||Change in active job postings, 24-30 May to 31 May-6 June|
|Waiters and waitresses||3,073||0.40%|
|Sales and retail assistants||18,623||-4.20%|
|Care workers and home carers||48,911||-1.70%|
|Carpenters and joiners||6,683||-3.80%|
|Chartered and certified accountants||3,793||-2.20%|
|Primary and nursery education teaching professionals||41,558||-5.10%|
|Large goods vehicle drivers||8,407||-5.60%|
|Hairdressers and barbers||1,362||-4.60%|
|Cleaners and domestics||21,458||-0.90%|
|Marketing associate professionals||25,558||1.40%|
|Metal working production and maintenance fitters||21,961||-2.20%|
|Programmers and software development professionals||72,012||-3.70%|
Top hiring hotspots
At a local level, the top hiring hotspot at the beginning of June was Thurrock (+26.7%), which saw high numbers of adverts for sales account managers, warehousing roles and van drivers. There is a driver shortage across the UK right now, and government must work with the logistics and staffing industries to avoid a crisis later in the summer, said REC.
Other areas of the UK saw marginal increases in job postings, but six of the top ten areas for growth were in Scotland. Na h-Eileanan Siar (+4.0%) was second overall, followed by East Aryshire (+1.6%), Perth and Kinross and Stirling (+0.9%) and City of Edinburgh (+0.8%).
On the opposite side of the spectrum, East Dunbartonshire (-15.1%) recorded the steepest fall in active job postings. This was followed closely by Dorset (-12.8%), Angus and Dundee City (-11.5%) and Derry City and Strabane (-11.4).
Employers worried about candidate shortages
There are increasing worries from employers about a shortage of candidates for jobs, as the strong hiring trend continues, in spite of concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“Data for the past month shows hiring in the UK recovering to normal levels, though there remain some differences between sectors and local areas,” said Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC.
“As pandemic restrictions have lifted, we have seen an explosion in job vacancies as companies rush to hire ahead of re-opening,” said Carberry.
Employers do have some concerns about the rise in COVID cases, he said, and the market will have to wait to see whether that delays the final stage of re-opening.
“But by far their biggest worry right now is the shortage of candidates for jobs. The pandemic has made existing skill and labour shortages in the UK worse. Governments and business need to work together to ensure access to training opportunities and unemployment support so that there are pathways for everyone into growing sectors,” said Carberry.