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?



The candidate shortage continues!

The UK’s candidate shortage continues, says the latest ‘Report on Jobs’. Yet, at the same time, employers are concerned that more staff will leave. What does the latest jobs news mean for you? Advice included!

We often report on the IHS Markit & REC Report on Jobs – a monthly national snapshot of what’s happening in staff placements.

Candidate shortage concerns…

The latest report shows that not only is the candidate shortage continuing, it’s actually worsened over the past month. In fact, Recruiter reports that candidate availability is now at its ‘weakest rate for a year’.

Interestingly, new job placement numbers continue to rise; both across permanent and temporary openings. This fact applies across the whole nation, with the South leading some of the growth on the temp side.

As Tom Hadley (REC Director of Policy) explains, ‘while more people are entering employment, it is not compensating for the shortfall of candidates for many roles’.

Employers fear workers are on the move!

At the same time (and as discussed by OnRec), 61% of businesses are also experiencing greater staff turnover, with more than half expecting this to worsen over the next few years.

Approximately 1 in 7 employees are now ‘likely to seek a new job’.

Returning to Tom Hadley’s comments, it appears many businesses are increasing new starter pay in an attempt to lure candidates from their current roles.  Temporary pay rates are said to have seen the greatest rise.

Hadley suggests that candidates who decide to make a job move are more likely to experience a growth in pay than if they ‘stay put’, noting the disparity between increases in new starter rates and in-role pay rises.

What does this mean for you?

The advice shared in our piece on the UK Skills Shortage very much still applies – both for employers and job-seekers.

  • Managers and business owners reading this news are encouraged to review their staff retention rates. This article explains why – and includes some key resources. Of course, steps to improve staff attraction also remain essential. Perhaps it’s time to review the top benefits that appeal to today’s workers.
  • Job hunting candidates may be at an advantage for now. However, this advantage can soon be lost if you’re not making yourself known in the right way. Refine your approach with these tips.

All parties are encouraged to seek the advice of an REC-accredited recruitment agency with plenty of experience in their field. Expert insights can really help guide you through your recruitment challenges.

Looking for more recruitment and career advice? Let us know what matters most to you.