Home Business News Christmas hiring provides boost to UK jobs market in retail and warehouse sectors

Christmas hiring provides boost to UK jobs market in retail and warehouse sectors

by LLB Reporter
27th Nov 23 10:17 am

Christmas hiring is propping up the UK jobs market with an increase in Retail and Warehouse & Logistics vacancies causing total vacancies to rise ahead of the festive shopping period, reversing a four-month decline, according to UK Job Market Report by job search engine Adzuna.

Total advertised job vacancies in October reached 1,026,434, up +0.35% compared to September, the first positive growth since June this year. Whilst vacancies are still lower than last year’s levels, down -5.08%, this is the smallest year-on-year gap between annual vacancy rates since February 2023, when hiring trends had fallen by a fifth compared to 2022 (-20.72%).

It’s not all good news however, as advertised salaries are continuing to fall, following the downward trend in inflation. Annual advertised salaries dropped -0.4% this month to £36,946, a four-month consecutive fall and down from an annual high of £37,807 in June. UK advertised salaries are now at their lowest for six months, down -1.89% from April when they averaged £37,658. Yet, they are still higher than the same time last year, up +1.41%.

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The number of jobseekers per vacancy has risen slightly to 1.5, with the metric staying rather consistent all year, hovering between 1.51 and 1.45. This is higher than last year’s figures, of 1.38, pointing to more people continuing to look for work across the UK.

Retail and service sectors step up hiring

Jobs continue to fall in most sectors, but there has been positive growth in hiring for retail and service sectors. Retail job vacancies have increased +8.29% compared to September, with companies continuing to hire extra staff ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas shopping periods. There has also been an increase in Customer Service roles available (+2.5%), Hospitality & Catering (+0.8%), and Logistics & Warehouse (+4.35%).

Graduate job vacancies appear to be recovering from their dramatic fall earlier this year, rising +15.1% month-on-month to reach 26,771 graduate job openings in October. However, year-on-year, vacancies are still down -28.4%, demonstrating that it continues to be a tough job market for new graduates. Energy, Oil & Gas roles continue on a downward spiral, -3.92% compared to September and down -13.2% over the past six months, with Legal jobs suffering the biggest monthly fall (-6.56%).

The time to fill jobs metric has fallen to its lowest level this year, at 34.5 days on average. By sector, Voluntary jobs (28.7) and Admin and Teaching vacancies (both 31.1) are taking the shortest time to fill, rising to 41.4 days and 42.4 for Logistics & Warehouse and Travel respectively.

Sector salaries remain high

As a result of the continued fall in advertised salaries, many sectors saw salaries fall month-on-month in October, including Admin (-0.83%), HR & Recruitment (-0.99%), Healthcare & Nursing (-1.06%) and IT (-1.45%). Despite this, there was some positive movement amongst some sectors, with salaries improving monthly within the Legal (+1.63%), Energy, Oil & Gas (+2.82%) and Trade & Construction (+1.42%) industries.

As well, the majority of sectors have experienced an annual increase in advertised salaries including Manufacturing (+8.52%), Customer Service (+4.83%) and Hospitality and Catering (+3.26%), with only IT and HR & Recruitment experiencing annual falls (-9.57% and -6.04% respectively).

There are still more advertised jobs without salaries (51.8% in October 2023), compared to ones with (48.9%), as the fall in salary transparency continues throughout 2023.

Regional falls in average salaries for the first time in 8 months 

For the first time since February, London is not the only region to see a decrease in average advertised salaries. Wales experienced a -0.69% fall in average advertised salaries with growth slowing in other regions including Yorkshire and the Humber (down -0.74% month on month) and North East England (down -1.44% month on month).

Northern Ireland continues to be the region experiencing the highest growth in annual salaries, up +6.74% compared to the same time in 2022, with East Midlands coming second (+5.89%).

Belfast has overtaken Leeds to be the city with the fastest growing salaries up +7.02% to £34,082 compared to the same time last year whilst growth in Leeds has slowed slightly to +6.08%, with an average salary of £38,450.

Cardiff has joined Birmingham, Cambridge and London as some of the few cities experiencing a fall in average salary. Whilst London continues to have the highest average salary on offer (£42,539), this is down -3.11% year on year. Birmingham has experienced the second biggest fall compared to last year, down -2.21% to £36,954.

Cambridge is still the top place to look for work with nearly 7,000 available roles and just under 2,300 jobseekers – giving it an average of 0.26 jobseekers per vacancy. Bradford remains the hardest place to look for work, with 5.69 jobseekers per vacancy, followed by Rochdale (3.69) and Middlesborough (3.64).

Warehouse jobs are the most in demand 

Warehouse work continues to be the top trending job on Adzuna’s Intelligence Portal for the fifth month in a row. This metric tracks demand for a wide range of occupations and designates an Interest Quotient for each role. The higher the quotient, the more in demand those roles are among Adzuna jobseekers.

Lorry driving roles came second, the same as September, followed by Social Care Worker roles.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Falling advertised salaries may not appear to be good news for jobseekers but it does signal that the menace of inflation is finally in retreat, as the Bank of England considers whether to hold or cut at the next rate-setting meeting in December.

“We’ve also seen the first regional fall in salaries outside London, with a fall in Wales and growth slowing in other regions. Anticipation of a Christmas boost is driving an increase in Retail and Logistics & Warehouse jobs this month, helping to support the national picture on jobs.”

Adzuna’s monthly UK Job Market Report provides the most up-to-date snapshot of employment opportunities across the country, based on every job vacancy advertised online in the UK from over 1,000 sources, across all UK regions. Adzuna also supplies real-time data to the Number 10 Dashboard, the Cabinet Office and the Office for National Statistics labour market indices. More granular data breakdowns at a local authority, job title, or skill level, are available via Adzuna Intelligence.

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