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FE News | Demand for workers stable with almost 1.7 million vacancies in the UK

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There were 189,832 new job openings in the week of April 17-23, 2023 – 31.8% more compared to the previous week as companies returned to work after the Easter break. The number of active postings in the week of April 17-23 was 1,696,319. This is a 4% increase from the previous week (April 10-16) but shows a 19.5% increase from the previous year (April 18-24, 2022). The figure had remained above 1.4 million since January 2022. Significant increases in advertisements for jobs such as collector salesman and credit card agent (they visit private households to pick up orders and collect payments for goods and services) (+18.4%), dentists (+13.2%), and glaziers, window manufacturers and installers (+12.6%). No decrease in job vacancies in any county/central authority between 17 and 23 April 2023. Six of the top 10 job sites in the UK were in Northern Ireland. In the accompanying special data report, we show how demand for teaching positions has doubled in some parts of the UK since February 2020.

The number of new job openings skyrocketed in the week leading up to April 23 as companies started hiring again after the Easter break. There were 189,832 new job openings in the week of April 17-23, 2023 – 31.8% more than the week before (April 10-16), according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Lightcast’s latest Labor Market Tracker.

The number of active postings for the week of April 17-23 was 1,696,319 – an increase of 4% from 1,630,552 in the previous week (April 10-16, 2023) and an increase of 19.5% from 1,419,641 in the previous year (April 18-24, 2022). The figure had been stable since January 2022 and remained above 1.4 million.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“By removing week-to-week volatility due to bank and school holidays, we can see that there is a relatively stable demand pattern in the labor market, with 180,000 to 200,000 new vacancies per week and more than 1.4 million active vacancies . ”

“However, what we are starting to see is greater variation in demand. Our members report that job openings have declined somewhat in the major sectors that have been strong since the start of the pandemic – logistics, driving and food – while the market elsewhere remains healthier. Similarly, the growth of ads for collectors and credit card agents shows the effects of pressures on the cost of living as consumers shift their behavior to shop cheaper and spread out payments more. This changing picture makes it all the more important that workers find their way to sectors where demand is high. If business and government fail to address this, it could cost the UK economy up to £39bn a year from 2024 – the equivalent of two Elizabeth Lines.”

Commenting on the teacher shortage, Neil Carberry added:

“Schools are increasingly struggling to recruit this year with more than 46,500 vacancies. This is after the double-digit percentage increase in teaching job openings we reported last month. This happens when employers do not take into account the pay and experience of people at work. Teachers are facing a double blow as their pay has stagnated, but they are also losing classroom help, such as teaching assistants and new technology, due to a tight school budget.”

Occupations with a notable increase in job openings during the week of April 17-23 compared to the week before (April 10-16) include collectors’ sellers and credit card agents (+18.4%), dentists (+13.2% ), glaziers (who install various glass products), window manufacturers and installers (+12.6%). Advertisements for mobile machine drivers and operators (+12.4%) for authors, writers and translators (+11.1%) and telephone operators (+10.3%) also experienced strong growth.

There were large weekly declines in vacancies for floorers and wall tiles (-11.6%), driving instructors (-4.5%), prison guards (under chief officer) (-4.1%), lawyers (-2.0% ) and IT engineers (-1.8%).

Six of the top ten job sites in the UK for the week of April 17-23 were in Northern Ireland. Causeway Coast and Glens (+16.1%), Fermanagh and Omagh (+12.2%), Derry City and Strabane (+11.8%), Antrim and Newtownabbey (+10.4%), Newry, Morne and Down (+10%), Lisburn and Castlereagh (+9.7%) all saw notable increases in vacancies. In recent months there has been a growing need in Northern Ireland for secondary school teachers, programmers and software developers, lawyers, cleaners and domestic workers.

Separately, Bexley and Greenwich (+0%) saw no growth in vacancies, while Camden and City of London (+0.3%), Solihull (+1.1%), Westminster (+1.3%) and Cambridgeshire CC ( +1.2%) ) resulted in the lowest growth in vacancies.

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