Home Business News UK job openings fall to 850,000 as average salaries rise to their highest levels 

UK job openings fall to 850,000 as average salaries rise to their highest levels 

by LLB staff reporter
20th May 24 10:51 am

Bright spots in the UK job market took the sting out of further falls in advertised vacancies throughout April.

Monthly rises in vacancies in key sectors including Hospitality & Catering, Manufacturing and Teaching meant overall advertised vacancies fell -0.94% to 854,171 in April compared to March, according to the latest UK Job Market Report by job search engine Adzuna.

While vacancy figures were down almost a fifth annually, -18.34%, compared to April 2023, there were pockets of rising business confidence which could point to the UK economy’s much looked-for recovery.

At the same time, employers are taking even longer to fill roles – up to 39 days on average, compared to 35.6 in March – suggesting that the decline in vacancies is removing some of the negative consequences of a tight labour market.

Advertised average salaries continue to go in the other direction, with salaries rising +0.45% in April to £38,810. Average salaries, which are up +3.06% year-on-year are now at some of the highest levels on the Adzuna platform since 2016, demonstrating how tight the UK labour market has become.

Meanwhile, unemployment has increased to 4.3%, the highest figures since last May, yet jobseekers per vacancy has remained stable from last month at 1.89.

Salary transparency has somewhat stabilised with only slightly more jobs posted without salaries (50.35%), compared to those with (49.65%). This metric hasn’t drastically changed throughout 2024, which is good to see.

Hospitality and Teaching sectors experiencing positive growth

The majority of the sectors tracked on Adzuna experienced monthly falls in advertised vacancies though there was some positive growth. Hospitality & Catering (+4.75%), Manufacturing (+4.34%), Teaching (+3.85%), Logistics & Warehouse (+3%) and Charity & Voluntary (+2.59%), all experienced monthly increases in vacancies in April.

However, this was offset by declines in sectors including PR, Advertising & Marketing (-13.84%), and Domestic Help & Cleaning (-7.91%), Creative & Design (-7.46%) and Graduate (-5.4%). Travel jobs also experienced a small fall in April, -3.23%, after seeing a sharp increase in March 2024 when advertised vacancies increased by +16.27%, as companies hired new staff ahead of busy booking periods.

Year over year, Travel was the only sector to see advertised vacancies increase compared to the same time last year, +2.73%. Teaching experienced the smallest decrease (-0.35%), whilst sectors such as Domestic Help & Cleaning (-49.01%), Trade & Construction (-46.73%) and Admin (-41.88%) saw roles cut in half compared to April 2023.

Conversely, the fall in average vacancies has served to only boost advertised salaries as companies compete for skilled talent. Retail salaries increased +3.35% to £31,604, whilst Admin salaries rose +1.57% to £28,334 and Social Work was up +1.86% to £36,814. The largest annual salary gains compared to April 2023 were in the Energy, Oil & Gas sector (+19.67%), Social Work (+12.22%), and Manufacturing (+9.25%).

Two sectors saw salaries drop monthly, and two sectors experienced a decline annually. Legal (-0.33%) and Travel (-0.49%), saw minor falls in salary compared to March 2024, whilst IT salaries fell -5.65% annually alongside Graduate salaries (-0.4%), compared to April 2023.

It is taking longer for companies to fulfil open roles. The average duration of postings is now 39 days, up from 35.6 last month. This is now at its highest level since October 2022, when it was 38.5 days. Average duration varies from sector to sector with Energy, Oil and Gas roles the longest to close, around 45.8 days on average, compared to Voluntary (29.1 days) and Legal (32.7 days).

East Midlands continues to top the regions for annual salary increases, up +6.68% to £36,188 compared to the same time last year. This has been driven in particular by increasing roles in the professional services, science and tech industries. The region’s biggest employees include Boots, Barchester Health, Cygnet Healthcare and AECOM.  Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s salaries have begun to recover, with annual salaries increasing +3.17% to £36,014.

London remains the region with the highest average salaries (£44,880), followed by Eastern England and South West England.

Bradford is worst for jobseekers in April

For those looking for work, Cambridge, Guildford and Exeter continue to be the most fruitful cities for roles for the third month in a row. Cambridge has 7,394 vacancies and around 0.33 jobseekers for every role.

Bradford is consistently one of the hardest cities to find a job with the highest number of jobseekers per role, 7.82, and this is only getting harder. Bradford’s claimant figures continued to rise since March 2024, from 20,180 jobseekers to 20,935 competing for 2,676 jobs.

Job hunters prioritising warehouse work

Warehouse work continues to be the highest-trending job on Adzuna’s Intelligence Portal for almost a year, having spent 11 months now at the top of the list. 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.

Healthcare Support work was the second most searched-for role in the past three months, whilst Social Care Worker has risen from fourth to third in April. Delivery driver is a new entrant in sixth place.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “April was another difficult month for job hunters across the UK though there do appear to be some glimmers of hope.

Several sectors saw vacancies rise including Hospitality & Catering, Manufacturing and Teaching, demonstrating rising business confidence throughout the UK and companies are keen to hire specialist staff. They are willing to pay well for new team members too, with only two sectors, Legal and Travel, experiencing a minor fall in average salaries this month.

“The East Midlands continues to see the largest annual increases for the fifth month in a row, helped by roles in science, tech and professional services. With recent data showing that the UK experienced the fastest growth in two years during Q1, job hunters will hope that this better news will feed through to hiring intentions soon.”

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