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UK – Manufacturing powering jobs growth

27 February 2014

UK vacancy growth is powering ahead, with the number of advertised job vacancies across the country rising by +14% in the past year, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

Overall, the UK jobs market improved in January, with a steady increase in the number of advertised vacancies. There were 768,104 vacancies in total, a + 3% increase compared to December.

The growth in vacancies has been boosted by a dramatic increase in manufacturing and engineering sector jobs. Helped by a particularly strong recovery in Britain’s car industry and a growing trend for re-shoring production back to the UK, vacancies in the manufacturing sector have tripled over the past year.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explained: “Manufacturing will play a key role in the rejuvenation of the British economy. It will help to increase the productivity of the country’s labour force, and help us catch up with our overseas competitors. The Bank of England has cited that greater economic productivity is needed to validate wage expectations, and manufacturing is one of the key vehicles to drive this forward.”

“At the World Economic Forum in Davos, David Cameron pledged to bring production back to Britain, highlighting manufacturing as an agenda forming topic for the Coalition. Encouraging British businesses to bring their production process home, and building a reputation for quality exports, will help narrow the productivity gap, which will eventually filter through into a pick-up in real-wages,” he added.

While advertised vacancies grow, the salary slide has continued. The average advertised salary fell to a 17-month low of £32,011 in January. Compared to January 2013, salaries have fallen by -4.6%, equal to a drop in real wages of £2,181.

  December 2013 January 2014 Monthly Change Annual change
UK Vacancies 744,665 768,104 +3.1% +14.4%
Jobseekers per Vacancy 1.61 1.62 +0.6% -31.4%
Average Advertised UK Salary £32,323 £32,011 -1.0% -4.6%

Mr Hunter commented: “Unemployment is far lower than a year ago, and the number of options available to jobseekers has grown tremendously. If advertised vacancies continue to grow at the current rate, we anticipate the number of available jobs easily breaking through the 800,000 barrier on average in February.”

A prominent North-South divide still persists in the job market, despite an increase in vacancies. Nine of the top 10 cities in which to find a job in January were in the south, while seven of the worst 10 cities to find a job were in the north.

Mr Hunter stated: “It’s vital that government initiatives attempt to bridge the gaping North-South split in the jobs market. Encouraging manufacturing will have a positive effect on the whole economy, but it could further separate north from south. The north is home to British car manufacturing, and a collection of Jaguar Land Rover production plants are based in the Midlands. But our high-tech manufacturing plants are clustered in the south, with Cambridge and Guildford two key epicentres. It is this type of highly skilled manufacturing which we are re-shoring back to Britain. Once again, it will be the south that benefits the most.”

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