Job vacancies are continuing to fall in the UK yet key sectors such as Retail and Logistics & Warehouse are seeing demand rise as companies prepare for the Christmas season, according to the UK Job Market Report by smarter job search engine Adzuna.
Overall, UK vacancies in August fell to 1,039,198, down -0.78% since July 2023, and average advertised salaries have also fallen to £37,697, down -0.14%, as often happens during the summer months. During the same time period last year, vacancies fell -4.22% between July and August, demonstrating that there is still a competitive market for hiring in 2023 and companies are trying to fill critical roles.
The gap between annual vacancies for 2022 and 2023 is also the lowest it’s been at -7.7% in August, compared to -10.96% in July, with year-on-year hiring continuing to improve as part of the long-term recovery for the UK job market.
Annual advertised salaries edged down from July to August but remain +3.35% higher than this time last year. The trend for employers to post jobs without advertised salaries, first spotted last month, continues as employers try to keep pay rates for new joiners confidential. In August, 50.1% of job ads featured advertised salaries compared to 49.9% without.
Logistics holding strong as legal jobs fall
Two-thirds of sectors are experiencing a decline in job vacancies in August, following July’s lead. The Legal sector experienced a -4.88% fall in job roles, compared to July when it was one of the strongest. Graduate jobs also continue to decline, down -5.49% monthly and -21.11% annually, furthering pressure on new graduates entering the job market following the end of their studies. PR, Advertising & Marketing (-5.53%) and Teaching (-5.77%) also experienced notable falls.
Despite the continued fall in Teaching vacancies, it remains the biggest recruiting sector with over 110,000 available positions in August. Compared to last August, there are nearly double the number of teaching roles available (+43.3%) and it is one of the sectors with the largest increase in annual salary compared to 2022, up +8.7%.
There are other positives in the UK jobs market: Retail and Logistics & Warehouse sectors have seen the biggest monthly increase in advertised jobs, up +4.73% and +3.6% respectively, following strong growth in July, particularly at the big grocers including Asda, Lidl and Tesco. It’s common to see these sectors ramp up hiring in the autumn ahead of the Christmas period, however by starting earlier in the year it could be because companies are predicting difficulties filling seasonal vacancies later down the line. Manufacturing (+1.14%), Property (+0.91%) and Sales all experienced modest increases (+0.69%).
The time to fill vacancies has continued to slow to 36 days, which though still below January’s high of 36.6 days, is the second-longest amount so far in 2023. It is very much dependent on the sector – Admin (31.4 days) and Property (31.7 days) are the fastest sectors to fill vacancies, whilst Energy, Oil & Gas (42.1 days) and Logistics & Warehouse (49.3 days) are the slowest.
Salaries continue to fall slightly
After falling for the first time this year in July, average advertised salaries continued to decline in August to £37,697, down -0.14%, reflecting indications that the wage growth experienced over the past few months may have stopped.
The fall in overall salaries was seen across the UK, with half of sectors experiencing a drop in August compared to the previous month. Energy, Oil & Gas jobs saw advertised salaries increase the most, (+2.14%) whilst Retail experienced a drop of -1.49%. Given that vacancies have increased by nearly 5% in the Retail sector, the fall in average advertised salaries points to an increase in entry and junior positions.
HR & Recruitment and IT have experienced the biggest annual fall in salaries compared to August 2022, down -5.98% and -5.6%. IT jobs continue to offer the highest average advertised salaries to future employees, at £53,641, with Legal coming second at £52,803.
After spending seven months as the region with the highest annual increase in advertised salaries, Northern Ireland (+7.45%) has fallen to second place, behind East Midlands (+7.84%). Eastern England has also experienced positive growth in salaries, up +5.31% in August, with Wales falling (+3.34%) to just above London. London remains the only region to see annual salaries fall, increasing from -1.22% in July to -1.5% in August.
When it comes to cities, Leeds continues to be number one with advertised salaries up +9.07% compared to August 2022. Belfast has fallen to third place, with an increase of +6.19% compared to Oxford, which is +6.59%.
Cambridge has seen the decline in its salaries slow, from -3.74% in July to -1.41% in August, a positive development for those looking for work in the city.
Top places to look for work
Cambridge is the best place in the UK to look for work with only 0.25 jobseekers per vacancy and over 9,000 total vacancies in the city. Second is Guildford with 0.38 jobseekers and Exeter comes third with 0.4, which has fallen slightly from last month when it was 0.41.
Bradford remains the toughest place to find a job, with 5.9 jobseekers per vacancy, up from 5.72 in July. This puts Bradford ahead of Rochdale (3.99) and Middlesbrough (3.62).
Warehouse roles are the most in demand
For the third month running, warehouse work is the top trending job on Adzuna’s Intelligence Portal. 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 jobs came second, whilst social care work was the third most in-demand role among jobseekers.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder at Adzuna, said: “The data continues to show some weakness across the UK economy with vacancies and salaries falling slightly, which might be expected in August, but not by as much as we usually see at this time of year. However, it may be that optimism earlier in the year that vacancies were on the climb is petering out. The drop in salaries registered demonstrates that employers are continuing to be cautious about growing their teams, while at the same time being wary of provoking requests from current employees for pay rises.”
Tony Wilson, Director at Institute for Employment Studies, said: “This data lends more weight to the evidence that the labour market is loosening, with vacancies down on a year ago and signs that advertised salaries may have started to level off over the summer.
“Nonetheless, vacancies remain very high by historic standards, and the fact that firms are taking slightly longer to fill their jobs suggests that many are still struggling with finding the right candidates and skills. This reiterates why we can’t just rely on interest rates to deal with inflation, we need action on the supply side too, to help those out of work and employers to fill their 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.