Job market remains ‘robust’ with 180,000 new adverts in the first week of January, data shows

Despite economic uncertainty, REC figures indicate hiring plans continue to be strong amidst skills shortage

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The job market remains buoyant with over 180,000 new job adverts in the first week of January, new data has shown.

Latest findings from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and Lightcast’s Labour Market Tracker revealed a 134 per cent increase in the number of new adverts compared to the week before, and a rise of 24.5 per cent compared to the same period last year, indicating a “robust” market, it said.

The data showed there were a total of 1.53 million active job postings in the week beginning 2 January, an increase of 1.5 per cent compared to the previous week.

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Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said the surge in postings was “reassuring” but that it emphasised the need for government to tackle labour shortages, suggesting reform “across our welfare support, skills and immigration systems”.

He said: “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. 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.”

The findings revealed the largest increase in new job postings between the final week of 2022 and the first week of January was for taxi, cab drivers and chauffeurs (+15.2 per cent), this was followed by road construction operatives (+14.5 per cent) and police officers (+14.1 per cent).

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It put this down to “the fallout of the pandemic, Brexit and migration issues”, which it said “accelerated the natural churn” of staff in the leisure industry, meaning it has to compete with the retail, service and hospitality industries for workers. 

Meanwhile, ship and hovercraft officers saw the biggest weekly drop in job postings (-9.6 per cent), while water and sewage plant operatives (-8.1 per cent), and building and civil engineering technicians (-5.4 per cent) also saw significant slumps.

With this in mind, Laura Baldwin, President at O’Reilly, warned there would be “significant shortages of skilled tech workers” in the future and called on employers to take action now to try and prevent this.

"Business leaders need to be less focused on the noise in the short-term and plan to set themselves up for long-term success. With unemployment rates so low, and many roles continuing to go unfilled, businesses need to focus on how they’ll invest in their existing teams' learning and development to close the growing skills gap,” she said.

Derby saw the biggest weekly rise (+27.6 per cent) in job postings, followed by Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees (+8.4 per cent) and Norwich and East Norfolk (+8.3 per cent).

In contrast, the largest drop was found in Orkney Islands (9.3 per cent), with Causeway Coast and Glens (-3.6 per cent), Manchester and Bristol (both -3.4 per cent) also seeing declines.