There’s More Job Vacancies Than Ever, But It’s Not As Simple As That

Looking for a new job? According to the latest official figures – and countless headlines – the number of job vacancies in the UK has hit a record high.

Between July and September, vacancies hit 1.1 million, the highest level since records began in 2001, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS said: “The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus, with the number of employees on payroll in September now well exceeding pre-pandemic levels,”

“Vacancies also reached a new one-month record in September, at nearly 1.2 million, with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid-19.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was “encouraging” to see the government’s jobs strategy working. “The number of expected redundancies remained very low in September, there are more employees on payrolls than ever before and the unemployment rate has fallen for eight months in a row,” Sunak said.

However, Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, UK told the BBC labour market shortages “could stunt” the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

“The recovery is testing the capacity of the economy to adjust to a new post-pandemic environment, a task made more difficult by the reduced availability of overseas workers,” she said.

“Acute skill shortages have pushed vacancies to record levels for a second month in a row in September, as employers struggled to find skilled staff.”

If you’re finding yourself struggling to land a job right now, the picture is more complicated than it seems.

So, where are all the job vacancies?

Hospitality, accommodation, food services and manufacturing have all seen rises in vacancies.

There is also a well documented shortage of lorry drivers which has affected fuel supplies and food supply chains in recent weeks, and is being blamed on the combined impact of Covid and Brexit.

Tony Wilson, director of the IES, said there were now fewer unemployed people per vacancy than at any time in at least 40 years, “driven particularly by fewer older people in work and more young people in education”.

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