Vacancies top a million despite record low unemployment

• Advertised vacancies are at their lowest since February 2017 – but still reside at 1,147,858

• UK average salaries are showing signs of recovery – up 0.8% from September to £32,174, but still 1.7% lower than October 2016

• Retail roles full of festive cheer as salaries rise 7.3% year-on-year – and more than 18,000 festive jobs still yet to be unwrapped (including turkey pluckers)

• Domestic help & cleaning jobs worst performing sector in terms of average salary – wages down 28.9% annually as the grip on spending tightens

• Northern Ireland reigns supreme as average salaries are up 6.8% from 12 months ago – strongest region in terms of wage growth



The number of advertised vacancies in October fell to their lowest level since February 2017, but remain in excess of 1.1million according to


However, new opportunities for jobseekers and employees aren’t coming online at the same rate as earlier in the year, with companies such as Sainsbury’s cutting 2,000 jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive.



On the plus side, the ongoing squeeze on UK salaries could be coming to a halt as the inflation rate reaches its peak. Following a period of stagnation, average advertised salaries have risen 0.8% from September to reach £32,174. Wages have fallen 1.7% from this time last year, but the recent incremental increase could have been prompted by record low unemployment forcing employers to rethink salary packages and offer higher advertised salaries in order to attract and retain the best talent.


Northern Ireland reigns supreme in terms of the regional picture, as Adzuna data shows average salaries are up 6.8% from September 2016, placing it as the best performer in terms of annual wage growth. One of the highest profile roles in the country is a pertinent example of this pay purple patch, with national football team manager Michael O’Neill being offered a lucrative contract reportedly worth seven figures a year to ward off the advances of Scotland and other interested parties.


Despite recent healthy unemployment figures – and the number of vacancies available – a record low jobless rate hasn’t improved confidence among jobseekers and employees in the uncertainty of the labour market and rising income insecurity. According to research carried out by the New Economics Foundation, two in every five people employed in the UK are in work that doesn’t provide a secure, living wage which have been labelled as “bad jobs”.


However, Phillip Hammond’s Budget speech saw him commit to further investment in T-levels and apprenticeships – as well as digital skills and other initiatives – showing the Government is mindful of the quality of new roles being created and not just the quantity.


Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, explains:


“We’ve seen plenty of false starts in terms of salary improvements as incremental increases have been undone in following months. Nevertheless, those on the hunt for a new job will be hoping this improvement is for good and not just for Christmas.


“Despite a record-low unemployment rate, advertised vacancies have hit a nine-month low, showing we can’t be complacent about the jobs market and we still need a steady supply of new roles to supplement its strength. We’ve heard plenty in Budget week about the millions of jobs created by the current Government, but this is no time to be resting on our laurels.”



Retail jobs full of festive cheer



UK retail sector sales slumped to their lowest growth rate in four years at the end of September, as consumer spending power was overthrown by rising inflation, poor wage growth, a weaker pound and rising prices of goods. Separate research by Visa and IHS Markit also predicted that Christmas spending could fall this festive season for the first time since 2012.



But despite this, Adzuna data shows retail jobs have become one of the biggest improving sectors in terms of average advertised salaries, enjoying a 7.3% year-on-year improvement in the 12 months to October 2017, to currently sit at £25,661.



According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, 51% of respondents said they plan to spend their shopping budget online, compared to 42% in shops. However, notwithstanding the inexorable rise of online shopping, reports of the death of the High Street are greatly exaggerated. Many consumers still prefer to pound the pavements and retail companies hiring on our website include Tesco, Lidl, EE and Superdrug.



Our latest data shows there are 18,088 festive jobs still on the market and they aren’t all retail roles either; with plenty of openings in logistics & warehousing, hospitality & catering, customer service and sales. For those seeking more novel roles, there are currently jobs on our site for turkey pluckers, Christmas tree managers and Lapland rangers (duties including reindeer spotting and husky driving).



Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, explains:


“If you believe what you read, the high street has been on its knees for years. But while it’s an inescapable truth that people are shopping online more than ever, there are certain purchases people still like to complete in the flesh and our data shows there is plenty of life left in the retail sector yet. With Christmas round the corner, the retail sector may be the best place to start for jobseekers looking for temporary, flexible work to secure a stable income over this busy period.”



Wages wipe out cleaning jobs


Wage stagnation and the increasing cost of living has led to many individuals turning to second jobs such as domestic help & cleaning roles in order to provide an extra source of income.



But at the other end of the spectrum, affordability issues haven’t just impacted those lower down the scale, with the so-called ‘squeezed middle’ also having to cut their cloth accordingly. As a result, domestic & cleaning jobs have become the worst performing sector in terms of annual wage growth. Adzuna data shows average advertised salaries in the sector are down by 28.9% annually at £18,104.



According to the Resolution Foundation think tank, the introduction of a higher minimum wage to £7.83 an hour has resulted in a sharp decline in low-paid staff such as cleaners in the UK, below 20%. In the midst of an employment record high, those operating at the lower end of the skills spectrum in the workforce seem to be exposed to these shifts in the labour market. Despite the attempt to improve the distribution of pay, for many workers, their salary in real terms remains at an all-time low.



Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna explains:


“The reality is for many workers, in particular those at the bottom end of the pay scale, face tougher times ahead despite efforts to improve conditions such as by raising the National Minimum Wage. Indeed, such measures can sometimes have the unintended consequence of employers deciding they no longer need people in such roles.


“The focus needs to remain on protecting workers rights and providing a stable and secure working environment to give jobseekers and employees looking for flexible work, the opportunity to obtain secure incomes. As the growth of the gig economy continues, the need to protect workers’ rights is as important as ever.”

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