UK labour market shows signs of recovery
By Dawn Gibson
The number of new jobs advertised in the UK is rising on the back of a predicted economic resurgence as the nation cautiously gets back to business.
New research from reed.co.uk, the UK’s largest online jobs board, suggests that the labour market is showing early signs of recovery, with 120,000 new vacancies added to the site in July – an 8% month-on-month increase.
Despite the nation being in recession, researchers found that jobs postings were slowly increasing in nearly all sectors advertised on the site, most notably in ads associated with charity (1356%), science (245%), and the public sector (82%). Only four of 38 sectors experienced a decrease between June and July, namely apprenticeships, graduate training, health and medicine, and social care.
Phillip Rinn, managing director of reed.co.uk, said, while there were additional opportunities, there was also more competition for each role.
“Reed.co.uk data shows a 48% increase in applicants per vacancy on average, meaning the typical candidate now faces competition for a job with 24.5 others rather than 16.5,” he said.
“While this increase will be unwelcome news to many jobseekers out there, it should also be a glimmer of hope that not all is lost. Now is the perfect opportunity to assess options in new industries, freshen up your CV and learn new skills.”
London, Northern Ireland, and South East England experienced the greatest increases in the average number of job applications, on average 148% higher per job post in July than February.
Construction industry gears up for busy autumn
While the labour market is fiercely competitive, the outlook for business is looking less gloomy. The UK is reportedly on track for a record economic resurgence during the third quarter, with City of London economists predicting a 14.3% rise in GDP.
Simon Robinson, co-founder of UK company Red Diamond Executive Headhunters, said this was welcome news to the construction industry, predicting that workers who had been laid off in March could be rehired in time for a busy September.
Although building activity shrunk by around 70% during lockdown, new figures show the industry grew at the fastest rate in almost five years during July. House prices rose again during August, with £37 billion in property sales agreed during July, the busiest month for home buying in more than 10 years.
Robinson, whose company has clients throughout the construction and construction products industry, commented: “Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap stamp duty on homes below the £500,000 mark has proved to be a catalyst in getting the industry moving again. Another plus point is that the government has moved to support smaller businesses through favourable loan terms and, while nobody wants to rack up debt, equally it’s vital that businesses aren’t forced to pull out of developments.
“The appetite is there to reopen the market and I would expect to see a very busy autumn of activity, albeit with changes to the number of people allowed on site to enable social distancing.”
Robinson added that restrictions on foreign labour as a result of Brexit would provide opportunities for British people who lost their jobs in March to be rehired.
However, as senior management teams had taken pay freezes and even cuts to keep as many employees as possible on the books, there was likely to be less hiring going on further up the ladder at this stage.
Brexit was also an opportunity for the UK government to signal its support for British manufacturing. “In the UK, we manufacture a vast range of materials used in the construction industry, from plaster board and glass to wood products and valves,” he said. “The government now needs to step up its support for the product manufacturing side of the sector – lowering tax in the long-term, for instance – to encourage businesses to invest.”
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