New data shows
Average advertised vacancies currently reached a 19-month high (1,202,573) in June 2017, the highest number recorded since the 1,229,131 available in October 2015, according to Adzuna.co.uk.
Against a backdrop of Brexit negotiations forcing UK companies to scale back their hiring processes and pressure from inflation squeezing household disposable incomes, advertised vacancies have defied the odds to reach their highest level in two years. This means that jobseekers and employees have more options available than at any other point since the autumn of 2015. The jobs market has gone from strength to strength in terms of the variety and flexibility of roles up for grabs.
As in 2017, the spring of 2015 also saw a General Election and proved that the jobs market and advertised vacancy levels could hold up amid political uncertainty. However, average salaries were still increasing on an annual basis in the first half of 2015, a trend that would end in June of that year and salaries have remained stagnant ever since.
Fast forward to the present day and average salaries continue to feel the pinch as consumers are forced to be shrewder with spending power. According to the latest IHS Markit Household Finance Index, willingness to make big purchases has fallen to its lowest level since December 2013 as consumers are less prepared to spend money on luxury items such as holidays.
In terms of the regional breakdown of wages, London has shown an annual increase of 0.2 per cent in advertised salaries in the year to June. While the rise may be marginal, this is the first time in two years – since July 2015 (0.9 per cent) – there has been an annual increase in average salaries in the capital. Following 24 months of stagnation, average salaries in London now sit at £39,232, with 265,568 advertised vacancies available. This growth is in contrast to neighbouring South East England, which has witnessed a 2.3 per cent year-on-year decrease, with advertised salaries at £30,986.
The effects of Brexit negotiations on the labour market remain uncertain according to the Centre for London Think Tank. A report suggested leaving the EU with no trade deal could potentially result in the loss of 70,000 City jobs. On the flip side, BMW and Amazon have recently made firm commitments to the UK labour market after BMW announced an electric version of the Mini will be built near Oxford rather than overseas, safeguarding 4,500 jobs. Retail powerhouse Amazon also outlined its intentions to increase the size of its new London headquarters by more than a third, creating hundreds more highly skilled tech jobs.
Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “The rise in the number of vacancies highlights the resilience of the UK jobs market. Jobseekers are spoiled for choice by the expanding opportunities available. Although salary growth remains stagnant in most regions, it is encouraging to see London join Eastern England, Northern Ireland and Wales as an area where the green shoots of recovery are visible. With more than a quarter of a million openings in London at present, there are plenty of opportunities for modern day Dick Whittingtons to see if the capital’s streets really are paved with gold.
“Recent warnings suggest that the UK may be on track for an economic slowdown, but it is hoped that a clear-cut immigration strategy is to become the backbone of the UK economy. With vacancies on the rise, this calls for further investment into new and innovative sectors that will stimulate the economy and boost wage growth. Recent announcements from BMW and Amazon provide a further shot in the arm for the UK jobs market and could well motivate other blue-chip companies to follow suit.”