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UK job ads hit post-lockdown peak

New UK job postings are at their highest level since lockdown on the back of a spike in school-related roles to accommodate children returning to the classroom.

Since the first week of June, the total number of job postings has risen by around 25%, according to The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s Jobs Recovery Tracker.

The latest figures reveal the highest number of new job postings since the beginning of March, with almost 129,000 new adverts posted online between September 14-20. The number of active job adverts in the UK also continues to increase, with the total reaching 1.21 million in mid-September.

There was a notable increase in adverts for school support roles like lunchtime supervisors and crossing patrols (+17.1%) and school secretaries (+13.6%). There was also a smaller rise for both secondary and primary school teachers (+5.9% and +3.6%).

The rise in demand for childminders (+10.2%) and playworkers (+7.7%) is likely to be driven by more people returning to workplaces over recent weeks, either as workplaces re-opened or as term-time workers returned to work. The extent of the effects of the new work from home advice on this trend will be revealed by future editions of the Jobs Recovery Tracker.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry says, since lockdown restrictions were lifted at the start of June, the number of job adverts had increased steadily as the economy began to recover. “In recent weeks, this recovery has accelerated in the areas you would expect – education and childminding as people return to school and work, construction and logistics, and also healthcare occupations not directly related to the pandemic,” he says.

“With cases on the rise again, and changes to work from home advice, we may see further changes in demand in the months to come. Importantly, [the government’s latest coronavirus] announcements did not close down significant parts of our economy, so we can hope that the trend of improvement we have seen over the summer persists.

“Government must think very carefully about any further restrictions they put into place. Public health must be a priority, but we should not underestimate the long-term effects that recession and unemployment have. Targeted wage support for key sectors, allied to an across-the-board reduction in the jobs tax – employers’ National Insurance – will help to keep more people employed. Further measures may be needed if local lockdowns become more widespread.”

On a local level, there was a notable rise in job postings in South Nottinghamshire (+15.7%) and Hounslow & Richmond upon Thames (+15.2%). At the other end of the spectrum, six of the bottom ten counties/unitary authorities were in Scotland, with the biggest falls in East Lothian & Midlothian (-8.2%) and Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire (-2.6%). Overall, the number of job adverts in Scotland rose by just 0.2% from the previous week, the least of any UK nation, and lower than any English region.

Matthew Mee, director, workforce intelligence at Emsi, which produces the Jobs Recovery Tracker in partnership with the REC, says: “Overall, it’s been another encouraging couple of weeks since our last data release, with recruitment marketing activity steadily on the rise. Obviously, with this week’s tightening of lockdown restrictions, we’ll have to see how this impacts confidence and activity in different sectors and regions. We’ll be watching this closely – particularly in vulnerable industries like retail, hospitality and accommodation, where we’d started to see early indications of a recovery.

“What’s also been particularly interesting over the last week or so is the significant rise in demand for IT skills across the labour market – with demand increasing by more than 40% for expertise in technologies such as Amazon Web Services, Python, Java Script and SQL. Let’s see if these trends continue in the weeks ahead.”

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