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The start of 2014 will herald good news for jobseekers with the rate of growth in new vacancies overtaking job applications for the first time in five years, according to a new report.
Those seeking employment will have a wider choice of new jobs in 2014 than at any point in the last five years, the figures in the latest UK wide Reed Job Index suggest. Wales is one of the weakest performing parts of the UK in terms of new vacancies but even here the index has risen from 111 in December 2012 to 132 this month, an increase of +19%.
The number of job opportunities available across the UK as a whole has increased across all sectors in the past 12 months, with construction and property the standout sector. Government initiatives to boost house building and infrastructure projects have also prompted a +74% rise in new construction jobs.
Meanwhile, the motoring and manufacturing sectors have shown annual increases of +60% and +51% respectively, suggesting that the recovery will reach all parts of the economy in the coming year.
The figures also suggest that fears of a London-based recovery will be lessened as a number of regions, including Scotland and the East Midlands, have outperformed the capital in terms of growth in new job opportunities.
The Reed Job Index, which is compiled every month using data from over 160,000 vacancies advertised on reed.co.uk, now stands +28% higher than in December 2012.
More than 1.6 million jobs were added to reed.co.uk in 2013. On a day-to-day basis, there were 40,000 more jobs than last year.
For the third consecutive month, each of the 33 industry sectors listed on the index is showing year-on-year growth in jobs and 11 out of 12 UK regions are showing growth compared to last year.
However, growth in salaries remains sluggish at just +2% over the year.
In Wales, the picture is even more bleak with the salary index actually falling, from 98 in December 2012 to 95 this month.
Overall, the Job Index now stands at 172, up from 138 at the beginning of the year.
Commenting on the latest figures, James Reed, Chairman of reed.co.uk, said: "2013 has been a positive year for the jobs market, with continued growth and new jobs reaching a five year high in the autumn. Most significantly, the latest data shows a shift towards a candidate-led market.
"This is good news for jobseekers and will present a growing challenge to employers as they compete to attract the best talent.
"What's more, after such a long period of salary stagnation, candidates will have a stronger negotiating position when it comes to pay, so employers will need to be prepared for a growing wage bill in 2014.
"The signs indicate a strong 2014. Growth is likely to come from the industries that have shown the biggest increases in the last few months: construction and property, retail, manufacturing and automotive."
The Reed Job Index is compiled through analysis of job vacancies from over 10,000 recruiters throughout the UK tracked against a baseline of 100 established in December 2009.