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?

Craving a career change!

Career change is on almost half of the nation’s minds, according to the London School of Business & Finance (LSBF)…

The LSBF Careers Report aims to answer one key question: ‘are UK professionals looking to change careers?’ Yet it also goes much further into exploring the feelings that underpin career change, and the blocks that are currently preventing it.

For reference, a career change goes beyond a regular job switch and enters the realms of a new job sector/industry/arena in which you have little to no prior experience.

TIP: already know you want to make your own career change? Read on for a link to our top career change advice post!

Career change hopefuls: how do you compare?

Looking to make the change:

  • 47% of workers would like to switch careers.
  • This figure rises to 66% among millennials (those aged 18-34).
  • 23% of people actually ‘regret’ their present career.
  • Again, this stat rises to 30% for younger workers (in this case, people aged 25-34).
  • It falls to 19% for the over-55 category.
  • Statistically, this means that if you remove the over-55 category from the pool, more than half of workers crave career change (56%).

As for regional differences…

  • Cardiff is the most satisfied city, with 68% of its respondents reporting career contentment.
  • The South-West mirrors the UK average, with 47% of workers craving a change.
  • Glasgow is the least content, with 58% desiring change.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, Londoners are in second (least satisfied) place at 55%.

Why do people want to change career?

  • Increased salary offerings are attracting most workers (39% for all and 54% for millennials).
  • Yet it’s work-life balance that’s most appealing to workers aged 35 to 44 (37%).
  • 34% are seeking greater job satisfaction.
  • 14% desire increased ‘status’.
  • Workers aged over 55 are most drawn to increased salaries (24%) or work-life balance (21%).

When will people make the change?

  • 54% of millennials hope to do so within two years or sooner; 26% say within the coming year.
  • Looking at all age groups, most people are unsure as to when this will happen (31%).
  • Sadly, more than 1/4 (28%) don’t think they ever will be able to do so.
  • 15% feel more hopeful, thinking they could make a career change within 12 months.

What’s stopping people from making their career change happen?

  • 38% of workers aren’t making the move as they’re simply satisfied with their existing job.
  • 29% of people see ‘financial insecurity’ as their primary block. 41% of millennials report this concern.
  • 20% say they don’t know which career they’d switch to.
  • Fear of failure is the primary block for 15% of respondents.
  • While 14% can’t do so due to family or social life disruptions.

Behind the stats

LSBF drew some interesting points from their analysis and we’d encourage you to read the report if you get the chance.

They attribute the increasing confidence towards career changes to the ‘solid growth’ that has been observed in the jobs market over the past few years.

Dr Steve Priddy, the LSBF Director of Research and Academic Dean, is excited to see the drive expressed by the younger demographic. Priddy remarks “it is one of my greatest pleasures to see young people interested in breaking barriers and trying and achieving more for themselves. From my perspective, what is important before any major career move is to ensure you are appropriately qualified to take on the new role and to understand the sector well enough in order to make the most of potential opportunities and to navigate the system as if an insider”.

Working towards your career change…

May we remind you that some of the most successful people have indeed made major career changes after the age of 30 (and well beyond!).

As Priddy suggests, a successful switch takes a smart approach. Our career change FAQ offers some expert insights to get you started.