The latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk suggests a shortage of skilled labour is holding back the jobs market, with three quarters of UK cities lacking the jobseekers needed to fill advertised positions. The company’s figures found that as of September, 41 out of the top 56 UK cities don’t have enough applicants to fill advertised roles. By comparison, a year ago only 27 cities lacked enough jobseekers to fill available positions.
Advertised vacancies are increasing steadily, as seasonal roles and graduate jobs flood the market. There were 1,178,129 vacancies in September, 2.4 per cent higher than August’s figures and up 30.0 per cent compared to twelve months ago. Despite these rises, positions are proving increasingly hard to fill.
The number of jobseekers has fallen to 685,456, the first time since the recession this figure has dropped under 700,000. More workers are entering part-time and temporary jobs, while some jobseekers are looking to self-employment for a regular income, further depleting the number of job hunters competing for permanent positions.
As a result, job competition has fallen to a post-recession record low of 0.58 applicants per vacancy, down 6.9 per cent from 0.62 in August and 43.1 per cent from 1.02 jobseekers in September 2014. At the same time, data from the ONS shows the UK unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008, falling to 5.4 per cent in September.
“Job competition has fallen to its lowest level since the recession, which should spell good news for those searching for work,” said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, “but despite the number of positions growing with a new vigour, the significant skills shortage within the labour force means vacancies are increasingly being left empty. Many cities don’t have enough home-grown talent to fill new positions, meaning companies are increasingly relying on workers from elsewhere in the UK as well as from overseas.
“For many jobseekers, the solution to finding employment is increased mobility, but the traditional migration from North to South needs to be broadened,” he added. “Flexibility is emerging as a key requirement. With the arrival of Crossrail in the future and ever-extending transport networks set to benefit all regions of the country, migrating to a different city could be the proactive approach to securing work. Graduates in particular should look beyond London and embrace a new appetite for adventure when it comes to work location.
“There is another solution to the talent drought too: increasing the productivity of the workers we do have,” he said. “After the recession bit, many jobseekers took up part-time roles or ventured into self-employment – meaning much of our workforce is operating at less-than-full capacity. To counteract this, employees may have to start staying in the office longer. Clocking in and out may become a thing of the past. Higher investment in the latest technologies and infrastructure will also help employers to maximise the output of exiting talent. Retraining staff will play a key part in improving productivity too.”