Job vacancies fall as competition increases, survey finds

Job vacancies are continuing to fall as companies choose to train existing employees, a UK job market report has found.

According to figures released today (1 March), 7.3 per cent fewer jobs were advertised in January than in December, the largest monthly drop since 2012. The total number of vacancies fell by 165,000 between November and January.

 

Train, not hire

This is because firms are opting to up-skill their staff and prioritise long-term retention rates, filling positions in-house rather than employing from outside, according to Adzuna.co.uk, which conducted the research.

And, while job vacancies decline, competition is increasing, with an average of 0.61 applicants for every vacancy in January, a rise of 13 per cent since December.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “January’s jobs market has failed to take flight. The normal rhythm of hiring hasn’t happened – vacancy levels are down and job competition is getting tougher.

“Fewer options for those looking for new jobs is putting pressure on career plans. Hiring habits are changing in a sign of potential instability and employers are retaining their best workers for longer.

 

Brexit threat

“A potential Brexit brings new unknowns into the jobs market. This lack of consensus is causing understandable concern for many companies.

“Business expansions and hiring sprees are being put on hold as a result. EU languages are still in high demand throughout the UK and whichever road the referendum takes us down, this is sure to remain so.”

Meanwhile, average salaries rose 0.8 per cent in January, reaching £33,593 – but this was only the third monthly increase in 11 months. The largest average wage increases were seen in Wales and Northern Ireland, where they went up by 1.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.

At £40,192, London had the highest average advertised salary, but this represented the second largest annual decline of 4.3 per cent. Scotland saw the sharpest average salary fall of 5.3 per cent.