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UK job market continues to flourish, though candidates remain cautious

Lee Biggins

As we settle into 2018, new data from the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library, reveals that the UK job market continues to flourish, with job vacancies and salaries both increasing in the last quarter of 2017. In fact, advertised pay rose by 2.7% quarter-on-quarter and 1% year-on-year.

What’s more, the report, which analysed job market activity in Q4 2017 and compared this with Q3 2017 findings and data from the same period in 2016, found that advertised job vacancies saw an impressive increase of 12% year-on-year. That said, this figure was a 5.7% drop when compared with data from Q3 2017. Other key findings include:

  • Nottingham (14%), Sheffield (12%), Edinburgh (4.8%) and Manchester (4.1%) were some of the top performing cities for quarter-on-quarter salary growth.
  • Alongside this, Manchester, Sheffield, Portsmouth and Brighton all saw impressive year-on-year job growth, with vacancies rising by 19.5%, 18.9%, 18.5% and 18.2% respectively.
  • Some of the nation’s key industries also performed well last quarter, with advertised vacancies increasing in the care (31.6%), retail (23.1%), manufacturing (18%) and education (16%) sectors, when comparing data with Q4 2016.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments on the findings: “It’s great to see that the job market is flourishing, particularly when compared with data from the same period last year. In Q4 2016, the Brexit vote was still raw and very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds. This is not to say that this is no longer the case, as the future of the UK is still very uncertain. However, the increase in advertised jobs suggests that as the dust begins to settle, employers are continuing to invest in their recruitment efforts and are working hard to keep driving the economy forward.”

Despite the market flourishing, candidate appetite is not keeping pace, with applications decreasing by 6.7% quarter-on-quarter. While initially concerning, this drop is not surprising for this time of year; the market typically sees application rates slow down as the year draws to a close.

Biggins concludes: “Competition for the top candidates is tough, and this is reflected in the increase in advertised salaries last quarter. Though many companies might be reluctant to loosen the purse strings, it’s clear that offering competitive packages is important right now, especially given that unemployment is at its lowest in 42 years. Despite this, it’s great to see that businesses are remaining active in their recruiting efforts and hoping to encourage job hunters to begin moving around and looking for their next career opportunity.

“January and February are traditionally a busy couple of months for recruitment, so we hope to see application rates pick back up in the first quarter of 2018. Overall, it’s positive to see that despite ongoing uncertainty, businesses are taking proactive steps to rouse candidate appetite and stimulate growth in the economy. We hope that as we move ever closer to Brexit, both business and candidate confidence will continue to improve.”

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