Jobs Recovery Tracker: Growth in new job adverts accelerates as confidence rises and restrictions ease

  • 181,000 new job adverts posted in the first week of May, equalling a total of 1.53 million active job adverts in the UK
  • Follows record high of 211,000 new job postings in the final week of April
  • Easing of lockdown has translated into increased confidence in the economic outlook and more job adverts
  • Continued growth for roles in hospitality, as well as more adverts in other service industries
  • In early May, Angus & Dundee City, followed by Belfast, were the hiring hotspots in the UK
  • Isle of Anglesey and East Lothian & Midlothian recorded the biggest falls in active job postings, while five of the bottom ten local areas were in Scotland

As the recovery gathers momentum and lockdown eases further, businesses are becoming increasingly confident about hiring new staff.

The REC’s Jobs Recovery Tracker found that in the first week of May there were 181,000 new job adverts posted online, giving a total of 1.53 million active job postings in the UK. This came on top of another 211,000 in the last week of April – a new record high for any week since the onset of the pandemic.

Since early March, we have seen stronger growth in new job postings with a weekly average of around 164,000 – up from an average of 132,000 new job adverts every week in January and February. This sustained growth during the past two months shows how businesses are now much more willing to bring in new staff as lockdown eases and the economy continues its recovery.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“The jobs data continues to give us good news for the recovery. Since governments across the UK announced plans for easing lockdowns, we’ve seen a robust and rising rate of new job ads being posted. As restrictions ease, those numbers have continued to rise. Business leaders are feeling more confident now than at any point during the past year. 

“In this market, the challenge is more likely to be about helping people access newly created jobs, rather than job creation itself. The announcements on skills in this week’s Queen’s Speech will help with this – but only if employer feedback is taken on board. The consistent business feedback that the Apprenticeship Levy isn’t working needs to be addressed, with reforms that mean all workers can access training through a more flexible system. A reform to the levy would really speak to the government’s levelling up agenda.”

In the first week of May the occupation with the highest weekly increase in active job postings was teaching and other education professionals (+22.1%). There was also a strong increase in demand for vehicle valeters and cleaners (+7.9%) and playworkers (+7.4%).

It is also encouraging to see a further increase in job adverts in hospitality and service industries amid the next phase of restrictions easing. In the first week of May, there was stronger growth in active postings for bar (+17.5%) and waiting staff (+9.9%), as well as kitchen assistants (+9.3%) and chefs (+7.2%). On top of that, with the potential for leisure, travel and entertainment to resume, there was an increase in demand for hotel and accommodation managers (+10.3%), conference and exhibition managers (+ 8.1%), and customer service managers (+7.7%) in the UK.

At a local level, the top hiring hotspots in the beginning of May both came from the devolved nations. Angus & Dundee City (+9.4%) recording the steepest increase, followed closely by Belfast (+8.0%).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Isle of Anglesey (-3.0%) and East Lothian & Midlothian (-3.0%) recorded the biggest falls in ative job postings in the first week of May. Five of the bottom ten areas for growth in active job postings were in Scotland, although they only saw marginal decreases. East Dunbartonshire (-2.4%) was third overall, followed by East Aryshire (-2.3%), West Lothian (-1.5%) and Dumfries & Galloway (-1.4%).

Matthew Mee, Director, Workforce Intelligence at Emsi said:

“With weekly new job postings now at pre-pandemic levels and lockdown restrictions set to be eased next week, the UK job market is in a very interesting place. With the workforce shrinking significantly over the last 12 months (a combination of Covid, furlough and Brexit), we’re hearing strong anecdotes from our recruitment clients of an increasingly tight labour market in a number of sectors – particularly those that aren’t currently listed on the Skilled Worker Occupation Shortage list. There’s certainly lots to think about – and changing demand trends will continue to be a useful lead indicator of both market pressures and economic recovery.”