The highest number of job adverts in 2022 was recorded in the last week of July.
The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest Labour Market Tracker registered 1.85 million advertisements with active job postings steadily rising since mid-June.
However, the reason for the huge number of adverts was not new postings. This remained stable throughout June and July, at between 180,000 and 200,000 a week. Last week, Personnel Today reported that July was the slowest month so far this year for permanent staff appointments.
The REC suggests the high overall number reflects job adverts being left open for longer, with employers across the country struggling to attract candidates for their vacancies. It argues that despite labour shortages, rising inflation and energy costs, there is no sign that the jobs market is starting to shrink.
The highest number of new postings so far this year – 234,000 – was recorded in the beginning of March.
The back end of July saw significant – and highly prescient – increases in postings for water and waste roles.These included water and sewerage plant operatives (+9.5%), with the sharp rise likely to be a response to the current drought conditions in the UK.
There were steep rises in adverts for actors and entertainers (+13%), driving instructors (+12.4%), and dancers (+11.1%), while probation officers (-10.4%) saw the biggest weekly decline in active job adverts. The health and social care sector also recorded notable decreases – including for hospital porters (-8.3%), childminders (-6.6%), and paramedics (-5.3%).
Recruitment and the economy
London saw rising growth in new job postings in the week of 25-31 July, with three of the top 10 hiring hotspots being in the capital including Haringey and Islington (+7.1%). However, the local area with the highest increase in job adverts was Newry, Mourne and Down in Northern Ireland (+8.3%).
At the other end of the scale, five out of the bottom 10 local areas for growth in active job postings were in Scotland. Of those, Moray (-9.8%), Orkney Islands (-6.6%), and Highland (-5.1%) saw the biggest falls, despite many vacancies in hospitality during the holiday season.
Kate Shoesmith, deputy CEO of the REC, called on the government to work on future proofing the labour market: “There is a danger that with costs soaring, employers will have to reprioritise – as there is still no viable support package for businesses to meet these rising costs.
“We know that employers’ confidence in the broader economy has started to drop. Government must play its role, both in supporting people and businesses through the current crisis, and also by working with industry to create a sustainable labour market. We need a long-term workforce strategy that encompasses skills, immigration and makes childcare and local transport part of the infrastructure of our labour market.”
For John Gray, vice president, UK operations at job market analyst Lightcast, said the current situation was unusual: “This situation of a contracting economy, high inflation, yet employer hiring activity hitting record highs, is highly unusual.
“While we are likely to see a slowdown in hiring activity, the big questions hovering over the labour market in the coming months are how significant this slowdown will be, and whether we will also start to see employers laying off staff. So far we are not seeing any signs of either, and the labour market remains surprisingly tight given the adverse economic circumstances we are hearing about.”