Labour Market Tracker: Increase in job adverts for every type of role across the UK last week

  • In the last week of February there were around 1.82 million active job adverts in the UK – up by 8.6% from the previous week and by 41.5% from a month earlier
  • There were around 224,000 new job postings in the last week of February, the highest since early December
  • All occupation groups across the UK recorded at least a marginal increase in active job postings from the previous week
  • The biggest weekly growth in adverts was for fitness instructors, travelling salespeople and furniture makers
  • Eight out of the UK’s top ten hiring hotspots were in Northern Ireland last week, led by Newry, Mourne and Down
  • There were only three local areas which experienced falls in job adverts – East Dunbartonshire, Na h-Eileanan Siar, and Causeway Coast and Glens

​​​​​The number of job adverts in the UK has been steadily growing since the beginning of 2022, as the Omicron wave receded and hiring activity ramped up. According to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s new Labour Market Tracker, there were 224,000 new adverts posted in the week of 21-27 February – the highest weekly figure since early December.

As a result, the total number of active job postings has continued to rise through January and February, following the normal seasonal drop in late December. Last week there were roughly 1.82 million job adverts live in the UK, 8.6% higher than in the previous week.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“Firms are hiring to meet demand as the economy recovers, and that is great news for people looking to move on in their careers. With increases in every type of job and almost every local area, that opportunity is widespread too. Recruiters across the UK are ready to help people find new roles. Employers’ confidence levels have been boosted by COVID restrictions start lifting, with activity returning to city centres and industries like entertainment and hospitality much closer to normal.

“But the high level of job adverts also reflects the difficulty firms are having in hiring. The UK economy is facing some severe capacity constraints as it recovers, which is contributing to higher inflation. To manage this, workforce planning needs to be front and centre for firms. This will also help to boost productivity, a long-time UK weakness.  For governments across the UK, it means working together with industry to ensure skills systems are able to fulfil our needs in the coming years, including reforming the apprenticeship levy. Now is also the wrong time to be increasing National Insurance, our biggest business tax – government should be encouraging business investment and supporting household incomes rather than piling more costs on taxpayers at a time when inflation is already high.”

The number of active job adverts grew in every occupation in the UK in late February. The most significant rise was for fitness instructors (+23.6%). But there were also significant rises for furniture makers and craft woodworkers (+20.9%), as well as tailors and dressmakers (+15.5%) – perhaps as the leisure and entertainment industry begins to kick back into gear.

The gradual return to offices and other workplaces could also be increasing demand for some roles. Childminders saw an increase in demand of 16.8% from the previous week, while adverts for mobile salespeople with rounds, including those selling food and drink to office workers, increased by 23% week-on-week.

In addition, every local area in the UK except for three recorded at least a marginal increase in active job postings last week. While the top spot was the Orkney Islands (+29.6%), eight out of the top ten hiring hotspots were in Northern Ireland last week. They were led by Newry, Mourne and Down (+20.8%), Mid and East Antrim (+20.7%) and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (+17.8%).

The only three areas with saw a decrease in job adverts from the previous week were Causeway Coast and Glens (-13.4%), Na h-Eileanan Siar (-4.8%), and East Dunbartonshire (-1.3%).

John Gray, Vice President, UK Operations at Emsi Burning Glass, said:

“The data continues to show a remarkably tight labour market, with strong employer hiring activity across the country, suggesting that the number of vacancies continues to be very high. Whilst this suggests strong business confidence, we know that many employers are still finding it hard to get the talent they need, which means they will need to look for new and innovative ways of promoting what they offer to potential workers, if they are to attract the people they need to grow their business.

“That being said, with renewed global uncertainty and the huge rise in energy costs we are currently experiencing, the business confidence we have seen over the past few months could well be dented in the coming weeks and months, and so it will be crucial that we continue to monitor the data for signs of how employers are reacting to this new situation.”