The number of jobseekers per advertised job vacancy has reached a record post-recession low of 0.89, researchers claim.
According to the latest UK Job Market report from Adzuna – a search engine for job advertisements – the number of advertised job vacancies reached 949,778 in November 2014, the largest number of jobs since the recession and up 23.6% on November 2013.
Adzuna say there has been ten consecutive months in which competition for jobs has fallen and there are now more advertised vacancies than jobseekers.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “The job market has seen significant revival over the past year. The most recent figures provide a solid base for optimism as we head into 2015.”
“But it’s important not to rest on our laurels. The fact that the number of advertised job vacancies has continued to blossom over and above the number of jobseekers in November is definitely a sign that the labour market has cultivated momentum over the course of 2014”.
However, Mr Hunter urged caution, saying temporary jobs for the Christmas period may be partly responsible for a 1.4% increase in advertised vacancies between October to November 2014:
“This peak in advertised vacancies at the close of the year may owe as much to seasonal work as it does to the resurgent core of the jobs market”, he said.
He added: “Some uptick in advertised vacancies during the lead-up to the festive period was expected.
Mr Hunter said the “cost of living crisis” was starting to ease, “leaving more people with more money in the New Year – injecting a feel-good factor into a traditionally glum time of year.”
This claim will be impossible to accept for the several thousands of jobseekers still struggling to find work and who may have been made redundant during the biggest recession in decades.
And the supposed economic recovery is yet to be felt by families struggling to pay bills, or forced to turn to food banks to feed themselves and their children.
There are also wide variations in the number of available jobs in different towns and cities across the UK. For example, there were 23.54 jobseeker’s for every job vacancy in Salford and 18.54 in the Wirral. This compares to just 0.17 in Cambridge and 0.20 in Guildford.
Research published by the TUC earlier this month (December) reveals that just one in every forty new jobs added to the economy between 2008 and 2014 has been a full-time employee job.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “While more people are in work there are still far too few full-time employee jobs for everyone who wants one.
“It means many working families are on substantially lower incomes as they can only find reduced hours jobs or low-paid self-employment.”
She added: “The Chancellor has said he wants full employment, but that should mean full-time jobs for everyone who wants them. At the moment the economy is still not creating enough full-time employee jobs to meet demand.”
Analysis also shows a significant rise in the number of people trapped on controversial low-paid and insecure Zero Hours contracts. TUC says most workers on zero-hours contracts earn less than the living wage.
According to Adzuna, average advertised salaries grew to £34,549 in November 2014 – a 5.8% increase compared to £32,651 a year ago.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) – one measure used to calculate the cost of living – grew by just 1% in the year to November 2014. According to the research, this means that average annual salary increases continue to outpace CPI inflation and shows real wage growth.
Consumer service jobs saw the largest annual increase in average advertised salaries of 16.5% over the year to November to reach £21,353, say Adzuna.
Andrew Hunter said: “The customer services sector has evolved in response to the changing landscape of business engagement.
Adding: “This increase in their average salary reflects companies’ desire to attract the best talent for this crucial sector.”
Average advertised salaries for jobs in Hospitality & Catering took the largest annual plunge to £24,148, which represents a decrease of 2.11% since November last year.
Andrew Hunter said: “A decrease in average advertised salaries at the close of the year for Hospitality & Catering might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a regular seasonal occurrence.
“Many businesses take on extra seasonal staff for low-wage work in order to cope with the extra footfall during this time of year.”
Manufacturing jobs experienced a yearly salary increase to £30,678 in November, representing a 14.5% yearly increase. This increase was followed closely by a 10.4% annual salary boost in Trade & Construction, with an average advertised salary of £38,704.
Mr Hunter said companies in these sectors “are not simply offering higher salaries because they’re feeling flush with cash”, but because “they’re struggling to attract the talent they need to expand”.
“They need to fill the existing skills gap before we can expect other sectors to feel the benefits”, said Mr Hunter.
Scotland is the only region of the UK to experience a year-on-year salary decrease. With average advertised salaries growing by just 0.53% over 2014 it leaves Scotland trailing behind the rest of the UK. According to the research, this was caused by the ‘instability resulting from the referendum’.
At the same time, North East England (11.60%), Yorkshire and The Humber (10.76%) and North West England (8.78%) have jostled Wales (8.44%) out of the pole position it had been enjoying thanks to the Jobs Growth Wales initiative.
Average Northern salaries remain lower than in the South, but at the current rates of change this may not remain the case for long – expect the North to surge forward in 2015, say Adzuna.
Andrew Hunter said: “A manufacturing boom has buoyed the Northern jobs market this year. The traditional home of manufacturing in the UK is seeing a new demand for highly-skilled labour, which is reflected in healthy annual wage growth.
“There is a more complicated picture for Scotland, another region where average salaries are tightly tied to a dominant job sector – waning salaries in Energy, Oil and Gas have been compounded across the region by recent political instability.
“However, advertised salaries still managed to grow on average in 2014. The margin of growth was undeniably lower than the increases enjoyed by the rest of the UK.
“Nevertheless, average growth despite the unique setbacks faced by the Scottish jobs market speaks volumes of the market’s resilience – there is every reason to hope Scottish salaries and employment will bounce back into the coming year.”