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Total advertised vacancies rise 7.2% year-on-year

The ongoing search for talented employees has boosted the total UK advertised vacancies by 7.2% in the year to August 2017, according to Adzuna.co.uk.

Company Profile


  • Current number of opportunities available sits at 1,204,579
  • Average advertised salaries hit 3.5 year low – and fall under £32,000 (£31,958) for the first time since March 2014
  • IT jobs rise the ranks to become one of the biggest improving job sectors in terms of average salary – advertised wages up 2.6% annually to £48,586
  • Admin jobs still in demand despite the rise of AI – average salaries up 12% from 2016, to £26,648  
  • Northern Ireland shows signs of strong wage growth – salaries rise 4.4% year-on-year, defying wider national malaise 

The ongoing search for talented employees has boosted the total UK advertised vacancies by 7.2% in the year to August 2017, according to Adzuna.co.uk.

In August 2016, there were 1,123,365 total advertised vacancies in the UK after the market witnessed a slight post-Brexit dip. A year on, available openings stand at 1,204,579 as the war on talent rages on. Employers remain vigilant to securing the best talent as Britain’s labour market is thriving with unemployment at its lowest level for 40 years, as the latest ONS figures show.

According to a report by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), UK businesses are already finding it increasingly more difficult to recruit skilled staff for professional roles like banking and engineering as a result of a fall in net migration. Therefore, skilled international workers remain key to boosting UK output, as well as filling new roles that will advance the economy and enrich the talent pool at all ends of the skills spectrum. 

It is not only professional roles at risk either, with the construction industry also concerned about a potential Brexit-induced skills shortage due to the significant proportion of international workers in the sector. 

While advertised vacancies continue to bloom, wages are withering with typical salaries (£31,958) hitting their lowest level since March 2014 as consumer confidence starts to dwindle. Inflation continues to outpace wage growth, but many experts are predicting that the sharp rise caused by the drop in the exchange rate should be followed by a similarly swift readjustment.

In terms of regional wage growth, Northern Ireland continues to buck the wider trend, with advertised salaries rising 4.4% year-on-year. With Theresa May confirming that there will be no physical border after Brexit, there is no reason to believe that Northern Ireland’s recent economic progress will be halted.

Wales is the only other region to record an annual improvement (0.9%), with all other areas witnessing decreases. Scotland (-4.2%) and the South East of England (-4.1%) have been the hardest hit.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “The war on talent has stepped up a notch as the number of vacancies continues to outnumber available candidates. To keep the ratio sustainable, it is crucial the door is held wide open for skilled international workers into the UK to fill these roles and boost UK output. For employers, it is a tough time to fill posts and find the best talent, as sectors such as construction are heavily dependent on international talent.

“While the sun is shining in terms of vacancies, there is a chillier outlook for salaries. Some commentators are predicting that inflation could well fall as quickly as it has risen, but consumers are unlikely to notice the real difference in their wallets until early next year meaning they could have a winter of discontent to battle first. Once inflation does ease and salaries do finally turn the corner, it will feel like an enhanced pay rise.

“While advertised salaries may have flatlined, that doesn’t mean that workers can’t seek more remuneration from their current employers. Our recently relaunched ValueMyCV tool can help employees establish their true worth and arms workers with some collateral for compensation conversations with their bosses.”

The IT crowd proving popular as salaries are on the up

With technological innovation a key driving force in sustaining a post-Brexit economy, IT jobs have risen the ranks to become one of the biggest improving job sectors in terms of average advertised salaries. Typical wages are currently 2.6% higher than last year and currently stand at £48,586. In addition, there are 72,913 current openings in the sector.

With a number of UK companies hit by cyber-attacks over the past few months, the IT sector has not only witnessed an increase in demand for skilled workers, but also heard renewed calls for effective cyber-security measures to be put in place by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Following reports that companies that provide essential services like energy and transport could be fined as much as £17m for failing to have effective security measures in place, IT jobs are becoming more business-critical than ever, despite the ongoing debate on the rise of automation.

Admin jobs remain resilient despite rise of AI

The rise of artificial intelligence has become a noticeable trend in recent years, but opinion remains divided on both the size of its potential impact and the immediacy. According to Adzuna data, administrative jobs are also among the biggest improving sectors in terms of salary, showing it is currently resisting the effects of automation.  

Average salaries are up 6.8% year-on-year and currently stand at £23,977. Vacancies have also risen by 2% annually, meaning there are 36,522 openings currently available. 

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, comments: “Despite the reported rise of the robots, admin jobs are still in demand and paying better than they were previously, as employers still value efficient clerical staff rather than entrusting such tasks to automated systems just yet.  

“Artificial intelligence has already had an impact in sectors and job roles such as pharmacy assistants, travel agents and translators, but our data shows that rather than view admin roles as on the verge of extinction, they should be viewed as supplementary to automated systems.

“Speed, accuracy, standardisation and attention to detail are the main benefits of machine over man, but the comparative price of hiring administrative staff – often temporary workers – provides an element of flexibility for companies. The move away from human labour may seem inevitable to some, but hardy job sectors such as admin aren’t going down without a fight.”