Job postings in December 2022 remain high despite the economic headwinds employers are facing, with the North East of England recording the strongest growth in vacancies.
Analysis by job site Indeed found that, as of 9 December 2022, UK job postings on its platform were 50% higher than the figure recorded on 1 February 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and most organisations reined in their recruitment.
The North East of England saw the greatest growth in job postings compared with the pre-pandemic baseline, up 92%; followed by Scotland (70%); the West Midlands (68%); Wales (67%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (64%).
London experienced the slowest growth at 28% above the figure for 1 February 2020. Growth in job postings also remained relatively low in Northern Ireland (36%) and the South East (42%), according to Indeed’s Job postings index.
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Indeed suggested that the regions that saw the strongest growth in hiring activity tend to have a greater proportion of jobs in sectors where there are labour shortages, such as distribution, manufacturing, construction and healthcare.
The figures sit in contrast with the recent REC and KPMG report on jobs, which found vacancies across the economy grew at their lowest rate since February 2021.
Indeed said that the labour market would remain tight as the UK weathers the economic downturn. It predicted that by the end of 2023, the ratio of unemployed people per vacancy could rise to 1:7 under the forecasts made by the Bank of England or to 1:5 under the Office for Budget Responsibility’s scenario, where the economy recovers faster. By 2025, these ratios could change to 2:1 and 1:1 respectively, it added
November saw an uptick in redundancy notifications to 22,580, the second-highest since March 2021 Indeed said. Redundancy notifications are an early indicator of the health of the labour market.
Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed said: “There’s little doubt that the UK economy faces some daunting challenges in 2023, however, the labour market is in a strong position to withstand the forecast turbulence.
“Businesses may be nervous about recession, yet staffing shortages remain the pressing issue for many right now. Further improvements in labour force participation, particularly in terms of aiding the return of more older workers, could ease these pressures and provide a fillip to the economy in the process, but there’s still a long way to go on that front.
“If the labour market does stay reasonably tight despite a recession, that could allay fears of the balance of power shifting too far in favour of employers, some of whom might seek to curtail post-pandemic forms of flexibility such as remote work which remains highly desired by candidates.
“Searches on Indeed containing terms related to remote work have risen over the course of the year to stand at record highs. For jobs that can’t be done remotely, other forms of flexibility including around hours and shift patterns have been a focus for employers struggling to hire.”
Wage data posted on the job site showed that pay in November had grown by 6.1% compared with last year, which chimes with recent figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Indeed suggested that pay pressures may have peaked, particularly in lower-wage jobs where economic uncertainty weighs more heavily on organisations. No occupation categories saw wages keep pace with inflation, which was 10.1% in November at the consumer prices index.
Wages in personal care and home health grew at the strongest rate – 8.1% – compared with November 2021. Pay in production and manufacturing (7.8%); loading and stocking (7.2%); cleaning and sanitation (7.2%); and software development (7.1%) also surged.
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Ashleigh is editor of OHW+ and HR and wellbeing editor at Personnel Today. Ashleigh’s areas of interest include employee health and wellbeing, equality and inclusion and skills development. She has hosted many webinars for Personnel Today, on topics including employee retention, financial wellbeing and menopause support. Prior to joining Personnel Today in 2018, she covered the road transport sector for Commercial Motor and Motor Transport magazines, touching on some of the employment and wellbeing issues experienced by those in road haulage.
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