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Occupations in highest demand and top hiring cities

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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 JuneChange in active job postings,  24-30 May to 31 May-6 June
Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c.17,21917.80%
Other elementary services occupations n.e.c.5627.70%
Welding trades3,2266.60%
Bar staff4,9894.00%
Metal working machine operatives3123.70%
Other skilled trades n.e.c.8183.50%
Metal machining setters and setter-operators3,0613.40%
Undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants3093.00%
Sewing machinists5462.80%
Bricklayers and masons1,856-8.10%
Protective service associate professionals n.e.c.658-8.60%
Social workers11,215-8.60%
IT operations technicians11,955-9.00%
School secretaries2,058-9.00%
Driving instructors580-9.80%
IT engineers4,060-10.20%
Plumbers and heating and ventilating engineers9,481-11.00%
Roofers, roof tilers and slaters1,432-15.80%
Bus and coach drivers1,309-18.10%
Jobs Recovery Tracker
OccupationUnique active job postings, 31 May-6 JuneChange in active job postings,  24-30 May to 31 May-6 June
Bar staff4,9894.00%
Waiters and waitresses3,0730.40%
Sales and retail assistants18,623-4.20%
Care workers and home carers48,911-1.70%
Carpenters and joiners6,683-3.80%
Chartered and certified accountants3,793-2.20%
Primary and nursery education teaching professionals41,558-5.10%
Large goods vehicle drivers8,407-5.60%
Hairdressers and barbers1,362-4.60%
Cleaners and domestics21,458-0.90%
Marketing associate professionals25,5581.40%
Fitness instructors7,8541.30%
Mechanical engineers698-0.10%
Metal working production and maintenance fitters21,961-2.20%
Programmers and software development professionals72,012-3.70%
Jobs Recovery Tracker

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.

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