Job market remains buoyant with 1.4 million active adverts, data shows

Latest REC figures could be indicative of ‘new year, new me’ Christmas rush, but recruiters warn it isn’t necessarily good news for employers

Credit: Yelena Shander/iStockphoto/Getty Images

The job market has remained stable since mid-August with between 1.39 and 1.5 million active job adverts, REC data shows. 

According to the figures from REC and Lightcast’s latest Labour Market Tracker, there were 216,257 new job postings in the week of 14-20 November. 

This marked a vacancy increase of 40.6 per cent compared to 17-23 October, and was only 0.4 per cent lower than the week of 10-16 October. 

A third of people to change retirement plans due to cost of living, study finds

Why businesses need to evolve their pay strategies to compete for talent

Almost half of firms would hire someone with convictions but bias remains, report finds

Sam Alsop-Hall, chief strategy officer at Woodrow Mercer Healthcare, said the figures imply that the “new year new me job rush has begun” but warned employers that an uptick in vacancies could see an increase in resignations. 

“The traditional job market always peaks in December, but the cost of living crisis, post-pandemic hybrid vs office based working and consolidation and rebalancing activities of companies, before a recession, has meant people are on the move more than ever,” said Alsop-Hall.  

He warned that employers need to ensure their employee value proposition (EVP) is “water tight, otherwise you’ll come back from the festivities with notice letters on your desk and be in a war for talent that you didn’t want to be involved in”.

Get more HR and employment law news like this delivered straight to your inbox every day – sign up to People Management’s PM Daily newsletter

The report found “notable increases” in job adverts for energy plant operatives (+38.1 per cent), shopkeepers and proprietors – wholesale and retail (+18.8 per cent), and cleaners and domestics (+14.3 per cent).

On the other hand, pre-press technicians (-8.3 per cent) saw the biggest weekly decline in active job adverts. market research Interviewers (-5.5 per cent) and postal workers (-5.3 per cent) also saw a significant decline in active postings. 

Kate Underwood, managing director and HR director at Kate Underwood HR and Training, pointed out that people will be looking for more pay ahead of the recession but said the “grass is not always greener” from an employment law perspective. 

“From an employment law point of view they will receive fewer rights for the first two years [of employment],” said Palmer, adding that as budgets for 2023 would be finalised the Christmas period is always a “good time” to recruit, despite the “rush starting a little early this year”.  

However, Kieran Boyle, managing director at CKB Recruitment said that while the figures bucked the trend of a “slight downturn” in new vacancies during December, it wasn’t positive news.  

“Our clients still have a huge amount of existing vacancies as well as new ones being created, which is being pushed by the skills shortage in the UK labour force. So I don't think we can say this is good news for employers,” said Boyle, who added that it shows businesses still “cannot find the staff they need, but it at least points to the economy still being pretty buoyant despite the doom and gloom merchants telling us we are heading into the worst recession in living memory”. 

The data was released shortly after the latest REC’s Recruitment Industry Status report revealed that the recruitment and staffing industry contributed £42.9 billion of direct Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy in 2021.