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Competition for jobs fell to two-year low in September

The number of advertised job vacancies rose to its highest level in two years in September according to the latest UK Job Market Report from


&middot         Just 1.9 jobseekers per vacancy in September, down from 2.3 in September 2012

&middot         Total number of advertised UK job vacancies rises 3.3% year-on-year in September to 710,859, the              highest in two years

&middot         Findings give strongest indicator yet that unemployment rate will fall below 7.0% before 2016, the               Bank of England's current prediction, despite the ONS data showing steady unemployment rate

&middot         Salaries picking up, with average advertised salary up 0.6% on August, but still down 0.3% year-on-                year

&middot         Recovery in wages led by London and the South East, with average advertised salaries rising 1.6%             and 0.7% year-on-year in each region respectively

&middot         But the outlook is tough for graduates, with more than 50 graduates competing for every entry level               job, and graduate salaries down 3.4% year-on-year

There were 710,859 advertised job vacancies in September, 3.3% higher than in September last year, and 1.7% higher than in August. It was the second month in a row in which vacancies have increased.

As the number of jobs on offer increased, competition for vacancies has fallen to a two-year low. There were 1.9 jobseekers per vacancy in September, down from 2.3 jobseekers per vacancy in September 2012. Competition for jobs has now fallen in every month of 2013 bar January.

The latest ONS statistics show that unemployment fell by the fastest rate in 16 years between August and September, with 7.7% of the economically active population out of work. With vacancies increasing and competition for jobs easing, the outlook is bright for jobseekers. It’s the strongest sign yet that the unemployment rate will hit 7.0% sooner than the Bank of England predicts.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “The labour market is turning a corner. This month witnessed the fastest fall in unemployment for 16 years. As we speak, employers are opening up new vacancies, as they invest in more staff to meet growing demand, fuelled by increased consumer spending. This has had a knock-on effect for job hunters. The relentless competition for new vacancies is beginning to ease, and there are more roles to choose from.”

UK salaries

August 2013

September 2013

Month Change

12 month change

UK Vacancies





Jobseekers per Vacancy





Av. Advertised UK Salary





The average advertised salary grew 0.6% between August and September, to &pound34,005 p.a., the second consecutive monthly rise. But there remains a long way to go before real-term wages return to their full strength. The average advertised salary is 0.3% lower than in September 2012. In real terms, pay has fallen &pound1,020 in a year, as inflation has further devalued the average annual pay-packet.

Andrew Hunter explains: “The fall in real wages remains a black spot on an otherwise optimistic picture. It’s great to see salary increases, but there is still a way to go before this will close the gap of inflation, which has been outpacing wage growth ever since the financial crisis.”

Ian Brinkley, director of the Work Foundation, remarks: “The economy is generating large numbers of full time jobs, but those without skills, the young, and those living in economically depressed areas will still struggle. Many of those in work are seeing little or no wage growth. But there are cities where recovery is firmly based and occupations which buck the trend on wages. The faster these pockets of prosperity spread, the more likely recovery will be sustained.”

Graduates continue to struggle

While competition for jobs has fallen across the board, the demand has been driven among more highly skilled occupations, rather than new starters. The graduate market remains intensely competitive, with more than 50 grads competing for every job in September.

Graduate salaries have fallen for four months in a row with the average salary standing at &pound25,355 p.a. in September, down 3.4% year-on-year. In real-terms, graduate salaries have fallen by &pound1,547, or 17% in the last twelve months.

Sector breakdown

IT, Engineering and Construction jobs have seen the biggest wage improvements over the last 12 months. Salaries in these sectors have risen by 6.9%, 3.2% and 3.1% p.a. respectively.

In terms of vacancies, some of the highest performing sectors were Manufacturing and Logistics. The Manufacturing sector – a key indicator of economic health – grew 6% month-on-month. Vacancies in the Logistics sector grew 1% in the month to September, and were significantly higher year-on-year.

Where are all the Jobs?

Seven of the top ten cities to find a job were in London and the Home Counties, and nine of the top ten cities to find a job were in the South of England. Cambridge was the easiest place to find a job for the first time this month, with more than three advertised vacancies per jobseeker. But there remains a strong North South divide. In Salford there are 35.9 jobseekers per vacancy, in Sunderland there are 31.06 jobseekers per vacancy, and in Hull there are 25.36 jobseekers per vacancy.

Although there are fewer vacancies per jobseeker in the North, there are signs emerging of a nationwide recovery. Salaries in the North East of England have risen 1.7% year-on-year to &pound28,083 p.a., the biggest increase of any UK region. This has been driven by the resilient local manufacturing sector. The North East is home to international firms like Nissan and Hitachi, with the former recently announcing plans to extend its Wearside manufacturing plant. Salaries in Scotland also rose year-on-year, to &pound33,290 p.a., although pay in both regions still fall far short of salaries in London, which rose 1.6% year-on-year to &pound40,062 p.a.

Andrew Hunter comments: “The job market in the South is being boosted by the increase in IT and Technology jobs. Cambridge, Guildford and Reading – three of the four best cities to find a job – are vital tech hubs for the economy. Cambridge is the beating heart of “Silicon Fen”, a cluster of software, electronics and biotech companies based in the East of England. Meanwhile Guildford and Reading are both on the M4 Corridor, which has long been a hub for the UK bases of major global tech companies. Tech employers are actively recruiting for skilled staff, and there are more than two vacancies per jobseeker in these areas.”


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