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UK- Labour market recovery is “well under way”

23 December 2013

Buoyed by a rapid recovery in the labour market during the second half of the year, competition for jobs fell by a third (33%) in 2013, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

There were 768,289 advertised job vacancies in November, compared to 676,878 in November 2012. This was a 13.5% annual increase and a 2.6% monthly increase. The number of advertised vacancies has now risen in five of the last six months, with 11.9% more vacancies in November than six months previously.

In November, there were just 1.59 jobseekers per vacancy around the UK, down from 2.36 in January 2013. This was a decrease of a third (33%) since the beginning of the year and a 6% monthly fall. 

But although 2013 has signalled a revival in the number of vacancies on offer, salaries are still down. The average advertised salary was £32,651 in November, a decrease of 2.4% on November 2012. Factoring in inflation, this is equivalent to a real-term drop in wages of £1,506.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “In the last six months we have witnessed a clear shift in the UK jobs market. Economic uncertainty at the start of 2013 put many employers off hiring, as Britain lost its AAA rating and many feared the prospect of a triple-dip recession.

“But Britain’s best summer since 2006 shone light on the UK economy, lifting consumer spending and ushering in a renewed sense of economic confidence. The resulting jobs revival is still filtering through now. Vacancies are growing, competition for jobs is easing, and unemployment is falling across the country.

“If job vacancies and unemployment trends continue at the current rate, we may find that Mark Carney brings forward an interest rate rise as early as September 2014.”

Despite a general decline in average advertised salaries over the year to November, there are some areas showing improvement in terms of wages, particularly those in the booming UK production and services industries.

The Manufacturing sector has fared particularly well, with advertised salaries up 17% over the year to November. Buoyed by European export markets, the sector experienced its fastest growth in two years in November as new orders reached a 20 year high, leading to the creation of 5,000 new jobs.

The Hospitality and Catering sector was boosted by consumer spending following the UK summer heat wave. Consumer spending grew 4.4% in August 2013, with spending on restaurants (+13.3%) and hotels (+6.7%) having increased considerably compared to 2012 levels.  

But while services salaries are picking up, the picture remains much darker for recent graduates. Graduate salaries fell 15.65% in the year to November, with graduate roles attracting a salary of £26,456. And competition for graduate jobs is becoming all the more fierce, as the number of vacancies on offer has decreased by 15% since January.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “Despite signs of a wider job market recovery, the situation remains tough for those who are fresh out of university. Many graduates are being forced to take on lower-skilled jobs and face growing competition for each available role.  Such difficult prospects, hand-in-hand with higher tuition fees, spell challenging financial times ahead for recent grads.”

Across 2013 as a whole, Cambridge & Aberdeen were the best cities in the UK to find a job, with just 0.31 jobseekers per vacancy. Nine of the top ten cities to find a job were in the South of England, and eight of the worst cities to find a job were in the North. It was 200 times more difficult to get a job in Salford, the most difficult city in the UK to find a job (with 64.83 jobseekers per vacancy), compared to Cambridge or Aberdeen, the easiest places in the UK to find a job (with 0.31 jobseekers per vacancy).

In the best 10 cities ranking, new entrants to the 2013 list included Winchester (6) and Exeter (7). Crawley and Bristol both featured in the best 10 cities to find a job in October, but have slipped off the top 10 in 2013 list. Cambridge, Aberdeen, Guildford, Reading and Oxford continue to dominate, featuring as the top 5 cities to get a job on both the October and 2013 lists.

Glasgow, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham slipped off the worst 10 cities to find a job from the October ranking, while Rochdale (2), Southend-on-Sea (7), and Plymouth (10) joined the worst 10 list. Salford, Hull, Sunderland and the Wirral were among the worst 5 cities on both lists.

Andrew Hunter comments: “The UK jobs market is quickly becoming a tale of two halves, with significantly more vacancies arising in the South of the country. Cities such as Aberdeen and Cambridge are breaking away from the rest of the UK, with widespread job creation as a result of the thriving energy and technology industries in those areas. Meanwhile, some other parts of the UK are being left behind.

“Of the worst affected cities, Hull has a great opportunity in being named as the next UK City of Culture, and has the potential to reap significant social and economic benefits as a result.” 

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