- The number of active postings in the week of 16-22 October 2023 was 2,150,083 – a 7.9% increase compared to the previous week (9-15 October 2023). This reflects higher time-to-fill in a few sectors with remaining shortages.
- There were 171,633 new job postings in the week of 16-22 October 2023 – a slight softening on previous weeks but emphasising that – while labour market demand has softened – vacancies are still high by historical standards.
- Notable increases in adverts for postal workers, mail sorters, messengers and couriers (+52.0), roundspersons and van salespersons (+17.1%), and typists and related keyboard occupations (+14.4%).
- No place in the UK saw a decline in job adverts in the week of 16-22 October 2023 as compared to the previous week (9-15 October 2023).
- Our data shows the huge challenge facing health and social care ahead of winter.
The latest Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Lightcast Labour Market Tracker finds cautious employers moving more slowly to staff up for Christmas than usual.
Our latest data shows 2.15 million active job postings in the UK, which is high partly because roles are still taking long to fill amid a labour and skills shortage in some key sectors such as hospitality, healthcare, engineering and logistics.
There is a spike in demand for roles linked to the Christmas period such as postal workers and couriers. Such Christmas season workers are usually sought from August, but it is happening later this year. This is likely because of employers’ uncertainty about the level of anticipated demand for goods and services given cost of living crisis, the sluggish economy, inclement weather in parts of the UK and international political tension.
REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry said:
“Although the number of new job postings is down, overall volume remains well ahead of pre-pandemic levels. The picture varies widely by sector, with a few shortage sectors driving demand right now. It should concern us all that the labour market remains this tight at the bottom of the economic cycle – we are likely to see profound shortages as growth picks up – government needs to be working with business to address this.
“We may get another uptick in new job postings because of seasonal hiring before things cool right down at the close of the year. It looks like employers’ caution about Christmas demand has led them to wait a few weeks longer than normal to hire. It means jobseekers are just beginning to see signs of a flurry of opportunities to find flexible work with quick starts, in sectors such as retail, hospitality and logistics.
“Employers tell us they are feeling more like investing as the year has gone on but need the confidence boost of a long-overdue growth strategy at the Autumn Statement that brings greater coherence to government policies on skills, welfare to work, infrastructure, mobility and taxation.”
The number of active postings in the week of 16-22 October 2023 was 2,150,083 – a 7.9% increase compared to the previous week (9-15 October 2023) but 57.7% higher than the year before (11-17 October 2022).
There were 171,633 new job postings in the week of 16-22 October 2023 6.2% lower than the week before (9-15 October 2023) but 17.1% higher than the year before (11-17 October 2022). New job postings have remained above 140,000 since January 2022.
Occupations with notable increases in active job adverts in the week of 16-22 October 2023 include postal workers, mail sorters, messengers and couriers (+52.0), roundspersons and van salespersons (+17.1%), and typists and related keyboard occupations (+14.4%). Street cleaners (+14.1), ambulance staff (excluding paramedics) (+13.7), and weighers, graders and sorters (+13.0) roles also saw high growth.
Actors, entertainers and presenters (+1.8), leisure and travel service occupations n.e.c. (+2.4), market research interviewers (+2.7) and vehicle body builders and repairers (+2.8) saw the lowest growth in job adverts.
Across the UK, Powys (+14.2), Orkney Islands (+11.6), and Causeway Coast and Glens (+11.3) saw notable increases in job adverts. No region saw a decline in job adverts in the week of 16-22 October 2023 as compared to the previous week (9-15 October 2023). Ealing (+4.6), East Riding of Yorkshire (+5.6), Gwynedd (+5.7), and Bradford (+5.7) accounted for the lowest growth in job adverts.
Our job postings data shows the scale of the recruitment challenge in health and social care as we head into a peak period for the NHS. There are more than 61,000 job postings for nurses, more than 16,000 for medical practitioners (doctors) and more than 81,000 job postings for care workers and home carers. Our data shows:
- A more than 100% rise in active job postings in September 2023 compared to pre-pandemic February 2020 for medical and dental technicians (128.5%), midwives (129.2%) and pharmacy and other dispensing assistants (194.6%)
- And 91.8% rise in job postings in September 2023 compared to pre-pandemic February 2020, for nursing auxiliaries and assistants and 81.8% for nursery nurses and assistants.
- Comparing September 2023 to pre-pandemic February 2020, there is a 95% rise in job postings for senior care workers and 43.5% for care workers and home carers
- No let up in demand for nurses, with demand about the same as February 2020.
- Comparing September 2023 to pre-pandemic February 2020, there is a near doubling in demand for health worker roles (excluding nurses) in England, apart from in London.
- Also, a dramatic rise in job postings for social care roles in the UK outside London, when comparing September 2023 to pre-pandemic February 2020.
Neil Carberry said:
“The wide scale of labour shortages in health and social care is a concern as we head into winter.
“The shortage of healthcare workers not only makes it harder for people to find healthcare and then get timely treatment. Some of our problem with high economic inactivity rate is because many people are unable to rejoin the workforce while they are on NHS waiting lists.
“Agency workers are keeping the NHS on its feet right now. Performative attacks on agency spend fail to account for this, or the fact that government has actively driven costs up by capping low-cost on-framework agency supply at rates medical staff will not accept. This has led to a boom in high-cost bank provision, and off-framework agency provision. Recruiters are ready to help the NHS make its operation more efficient – but that means engaging with the sector on a plan everyone can sign up to.”