Job vacancies: record highs or figures falling?

What does the number of job vacancies tell us about the state of the employment market? Well, the answer could depend on your chosen source…

Two different news items published only a day apart suggest that:

a) Advertised job vacancies are falling and reflect a ‘cooling off’ period 

Source: Recruiting Times & Adzuna

Adzuna has been recording its own data since 2012. However, it will not have access to the same quantity of data as our next source.

That said, it’s still of national interest as it considers the UK as a whole. Perhaps most interestingly, these findings also report on competition levels; stating that application numbers have fallen to an all-time low since Adzuna’s records began 6 years ago.

b)  Job vacancies have reached a record high since 2001

Source: HR Review & the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Conversely, the ONS reports that job vacancy numbers have reached the highest level recorded in 17 years. Although these figures are taken from the August to October 2018 period; Adzuna’s refer to the ‘latest data’ which may well be exploring the past month.

This report also reflects a talent shortage, stating that ’employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need.’

What the REC has to say on this topic…

As you may well know, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation also conducts regular research.

Their latest press release explored October’s figures and found:

  • Staff appointment numbers rose at their fastest rate last month.
  • Job vacancies ‘expanded at the softest pace’ for almost two years in October, yet staff demand was ‘historically sharp’.
  • Overall candidate availability fell at its steepest rate in nine months.

Considering all these findings, it appears that there is greater consensus across the sources than it might have appeared at first glance.

Certainly, each agrees that businesses are facing skills shortages, with HR Review reporting that “employers can expect to face continued recruitment and retention pressures and need to prioritise workforce planning.”

Looking to overcome the skills shortage?

Excellent news for permanent jobs!

It’s been another fantastic period for permanent jobs, with UK placements reaching a 3-month peak…

The data (from the ‘IHS Markit & REC Report on Jobs’ – as reported by HR Review) demonstrates continued employer demand. Temporary job placements have also increased through this period. All very promising for the health and growth of the economy.

Findings suggest:

  • Increased demand has driven up average starting salaries for Permanent workers
  • The average hourly rate for Temporary workers has also increased
  • However, longer-term salary growth figures are as yet unknown
  • Demand is greater in the private sector at this time
  • Accountancy/Financial and IT placements have seen the biggest growth


While the Southern region has also experienced growth, this has only been deemed ‘modest’.

Furthermore, the Skills Shortage remains the primary theme of recruitment challenges in 2017. In fact, the REC is calling on the government to put this at the heart of their ‘New Year’s resolutions!’

Here in Bath:

We’re fortunate to support some thriving businesses – including those in the growing finance and financial services sector (alongside other commercial office industries). You’ll see we’re currently recruiting for a variety of administrative, finance, and technical jobs – alongside temporary Christmas work opportunities in Bath and surrounding.

Demand for candidates remains strong. You can read our advice piece on how to use the Skills Shortage to your advantage, whether you’re an employer or job-seeker.

Looking for further advice? We’re here to discuss your recruitment needs and welcome new CVs.

Another record month

August was yet another record month for employment. We explore what’s happening with the latest recruitment stats…

Employment figures are at their highest since records began:

National employment statistics have been recorded since 1971 – and there’s never been a period of greater employment than now.

  • This means more people are in work than ever before (totalling 32.14 million, a rate of 75.3%).
  • Plus unemployment is also at a record low of 4.3%.

At first glance, the latter stat may appear obvious in light of the former. However, our growing working population could spell record employment without such a decline in unemployment.

These stats, created by ONS, show increases across all working age groups.

One of the most marked differences has to be that of the youth employment sector: seeing a 40% improvement in unemployment over the past 17 years.

Pleasingly, these figures relate to an increase in full-time and permanent work as opposed to a predominately part-time/zero hour contract landscape.

Women are also seeing a record month, achieving 70.8% national employment (15.1 million women workers).

Employer confidence has further fallen

Despite the above, employer confidence has dropped by another 3 points since last month. This is revealed by the September REC JobsOutlook (which reviews August’s performance).

  • 33% of businesses now believe economic conditions are worsening, yet 28% feel their confidence in hiring and investment decisions will improve. Hiring intentions also remain ‘stable’.
  • 36% of employers have expressed concern regarding the availability of temps. Furthermore, 59% have referenced the importance of agency workers in facilitating their next period of growth.
  • An impressive 92% of businesses will either keep or increase their permanent headcount over the next 3 months – and an additional 2% will hire over the medium-term versus last month’s predictions.

Kevin Green (the REC’s chief executive) has described UK employers as ‘resilient’. In a separate press piece regarding the above ONS stats, he has, however, highlighted the challenge of sourcing candidates at a time of such low unemployment. Green says, “businesses can only grow if they have access to the people and skills they need.”

Please refer to our Skills Shortage special for more details about recruiting (and/or finding a new job) at such a time.  

[Sources: ONS via Recruiting Times & REC]

What the Skills Shortage Means for You

How the UK skills shortage affects job-seekers and employers, plus the strategies to overcome this

If you’ve been following our recent posts you will have spotted a trend. For some time the UK has experienced a void between the number of available jobs and the number of suitable candidates to fill them.

Locally we’ve observed increased job opportunities in administration; PA and office management; finance and financial services, and legal roles.

So, how exactly does this affect you?


Think shortage, think opportunity! One in three employers will be looking for someone just like you this year.

If you’ve been considering a career move for a while, now’s the time to get things started. Competition may be lower in your field and recruitment processes more urgent.

This isn’t to say your standards should slip or that you should start drafting your resignation. Reduced competition remains competition nonetheless, and employers quite rightfully want to find the right person for each role.

  • Take this time to review the local market and how your skills best fit.
  • Next, get writing a CV that demonstrates exactly this.
  • Be sure to find a local recruiter with experience in your field. Recruiters have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to exactly what employers are looking for, as well as how to best shape your career.

GET STARTED: your CV remains a primary selling tool. You’ll find helpful CV writing advice on our Downloads page. Additionally, you can apply for the latest openings via our Jobs page or email.


There’s many a frustration that comes with a skills shortage, with delays in growth and progression sitting high on the list! However, there are strategies you can take to overcome this…

  • Review the opportunity in question. Consider the skills that are true ‘musts’ and those that are ‘preferable’. When our must lists reduce the talent pool deepens. Even when the list cannot be reduced we benefit from clarifying our goals.
  • Consider your team setup. Perhaps your project requires additional support staff rather than niche workers? Or perhaps temporary workers can help you get started while you hunt for the perfect permanent employee? Often there are multiple routes to achieving the same goal; some of which may be swifter.
  • Review the full package. Be sure to inform your recruitment consultant of all employee perks. Whether it’s flexible working, bonuses, training and/or internal promotions, each incentive could set you apart from your competitors.
  • Insider insights. Recruitment consultants possess valuable insights on the very people you are hunting for. Furthermore, they often have applicants waiting to apply for positions such as yours. Add this to the competitive advantages gleaned from local salary insights and recruiting tips, and you have many reasons to source an experienced local recruiter.

GET STARTED: call an Appoint consultant for an informal chat on 01225 313130. Alternatively, email your request and/or job specification directly to the team.

[Source: City A.M.]