Home Business News SMEs more secretive about pay offers as vacancies and salaries fall for the first time this year

SMEs more secretive about pay offers as vacancies and salaries fall for the first time this year

by LLB Finance Reporter
21st Aug 23 11:39 am

Job vacancies and advertised salaries have fallen for the first time this year as businesses pause hiring for the summer, according to the UK Job Market Report by smarter job search engine Adzuna. 

After six months of month-on-month growth, the total number of UK vacancies in July decreased to 1,047,366, a drop of -1.11% compared to June. At the same time, the average advertised salaries fell -0.15% to £37,750 from £37,780. 

The fall in vacancies is consistent with trends seen in previous years. Businesses typically slow hiring during quieter summer months before ramping up recruitment for Q4. Last summer, for instance, hiring fell by -2.08% between June and July. This means that the recent decline is almost half what it was this time last year. 

What’s more, despite the month-on-month decline, the year-on-year gap continues to shrink. In May, the year-on-year vacancy gap was -16.8%. In June this shrunk to -12% and by July 2023, the gap was just -10.96% compared to July 2022, all of which points to long-term recovery for the UK job market. 

In addition, despite the drop in advertised pay cheques, jobseekers continue to see some of the highest salary figures since early 2021. However, for the first time ever, there are now more job postings without advertised salaries (50.1% of job ads) compared to jobs with (49.9%), in what is set to be a blow to salary transparency campaigns, as employers are becoming more secretive about pay rates for new employees. 

Legal and logistics propping up falling vacancies

Despite nearly all job sectors seeing a decline in vacancies, some sectors bucked the trend in July. 

Logistics and warehouse jobs saw the biggest rise in vacancies (+3.89%), reversing a three-month decline. Legal saw an increase (+3.13%), along with retail (+2.74%) and manufacturing (+1.04%). Teaching remains the largest recruiting sector on Adzuna with over 120,000 vacancies. Although this fell slightly by -2.27% between June and July, this number is still up +34.99% since the same time last year. 

IT is the second-biggest sector for recruitment, with nearly 99,000 available jobs in the industry. Tech vacancies are still not as high as they have been in the past, however, with monthly figures down -2.92% compared to June and annual figures down -42.1% since last July. 

Graduate jobs continue to fall despite this time of year often being the busiest for new graduates, with monthly vacancies falling -2.17% and annual vacancies falling -22.24% compared to last year. 

The average time to fill roles has increased to 35.4 days from a record low of 34.6 in the previous month, however, it is still better than January’s figure of 36.6 days, showing the jobs market continues to be tight and reflecting ongoing talent shortages in some sectors. Teaching roles continue to be the fastest to fill, at 31.3 days. 

Sectors post strong salary growth in 2023

Average advertised salaries have fallen for the first time this year to £37,750 in July, down (-0.15%) from June. Despite the return to May 2023 levels, advertised pay rates remain at some of the highest figures seen since early 2021. 

This is also demonstrated in the annual increase in advertised salaries across the board. Only three sectors registered a fall in average advertised salaries compared to last July, scientific and QA jobs (-1.58%), IT jobs (-4.24%), and HR & recruitment (-5.91%). Social work jobs have experienced the biggest increase in advertised salaries, up +20.47% to £33,577 on average compared to July whilst PR, advertising and marketing roles saw the smallest annual increase (+0.04%). 

In the regions, Northern Ireland has continued its reign of experiencing the highest annual growth in salaries, up +9.5% since July 2023 – the seventh consecutive monthly rise for the region. East Midlands (+7.84%) rose ahead of Yorkshire and the Humber (+7.64%) whilst South West England has also seen salaries rise over 7% compared to last year. London continues to be the only region to see annual salaries fall, down -1.22%, which is marginally better than June’s decline (-1.33%). 

When it comes to cities, Leeds continues to see the biggest annual change in average advertised salaries, up +10.04% compared to last year. Belfast also continues to see strong growth (+8.16%), and this is replicated across the country in Liverpool (+6.73%), Bradford (5.73%) and Cardiff (+4.34%). London and Cambridge continue to see salaries fall but this is starting to slow, particularly in Cambridge where annual salaries are down -3.74% compared to -5.53% in June.  

Top places to look for work

Cambridge remains the top city in the UK with the least competition for jobs with 0.25 jobseekers per vacancy, a figure which has remained steady since March 2023, however annual job vacancies in the city are down -9.06% compared to last year. Guildford (0.38), Exeter (0.41) and Oxford (0.57) also have low levels of competition for new jobs, whilst Bradford remains the highest at 5.72. 

Warehouse work continues to trend

Warehouse work is the top trending job on Adzuna’s Intelligence Portal for the second month running. 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 is the second highest trending job for the second month running, with social care roles also in high demand. 

Andrew Hunter, co-founder at Adzuna, said, “The UK jobs market has entered its summer slowdown period with vacancies down, advertised salaries down and the time to fill roles increasing.

“Whilst it’s natural to see vacancies fall during the summer months, as companies traditionally slow hiring, the early figures for July’s jobs data will demonstrate to UK policymakers that inflation truly should be on a downward trajectory.

“Despite the wider slowdown, sectors continue to see advertised annual salaries rise compared to last year, with only a handful of sectors experiencing falling salaries. That being said, employers are becoming more secretive about pay rates, with over half of job adverts going live without salary details for the first time ever in a blow to salary transparency campaigners.”

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