Job market remains robust at the start of the year

While we are seeing some caution from employers in the face of uncertainty, overall the job market remains robust judging by the demand for new staff at the start of the year.

The number of active job vacancy postings across the UK job market has remained robust since mid-August 2022. Active job adverts went above 1.5 million in mid-December 2022 and remained there in the first week of January, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

After the annual Christmas dip in job postings, the first couple of weeks of 2023 saw postings rise to 180,000, which is close to the average seen throughout 2022. Even more significantly, new postings are up 24.5% compared to the same time last year. What this suggests is that despite the economic uncertainties of recent months and rising inflation, the job market and hiring plans continue to be strong. Businesses have posted a significant number of new jobs as they continue to seek new talent and grow their business.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the figures from the UK job market:

  • The number of active job postings were 1.53 million in the week of 2-8 Jan 2023, a 1.5% increase compared to the previous week
  • There were 184,335 new job adverts in the first week of January, a 24.5% increase on the same period in January 2022 (148,032)
  • New job adverts in the first week of January 2023 were 134% higher than the week before but hiring always slows just before and over the Christmas period
  • There is an increase in demand for Police Officers (sergeant and below), domestic workers and leisure industry personnel
  •  There was a fall in job adverts in Westminster, Angus and Dundee City, Fermanagh and Omagh, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, and Manchester
  • Derby was the UK’s top hiring hotspot in the week of 2-8 Jan 2023

Many businesses continue to hire new talent

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“January is often a time when employees look for a new role, so it is reassuring to see plenty of options out there for people looking to build their career and raise their wages. While businesses are being a notch more cautious in the face of economic uncertainty, the scale of the shortages we face mean many firms still need to hire.

“It is notable that demand as judged by new job adverts has remained relatively steady for many months now, and this January does not appear to be worse than January 2022 according to our data. For firms expecting hiring to be easier this year, the message is that working hard to get your hiring right is going to be just as important in 2023.

“For governments, these numbers emphasise again the need to tackle labour shortages with reform across our welfare support, skills and immigration systems.”

Occupations seeing the greatest impact

Occupations in the job market with notable increases in job adverts include Police Officers (sergeant and below) (+14.1%), Sports and Leisure Assistants (+11.8%), and Cleaners and Domestics (+9.7%).

The fallout of the pandemic, Brexit and Visa and migration issues mean the natural churn of staff has accelerated in the leisure industry, leaving that industry to compete with the entire service industry, including retail and big hospitality brands, for workers in the job market.

The greatest growth in job adverts in the job market was seen in Derby (+27.6%) in the week of 2-8 Jan 2023, followed by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (+8.4%), Norwich and East Norfolk (+8.3%), and East Cumbria (+8.0%).

Job Market Data provided by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and the ONS.

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