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Jobs Recovery Tracker: Increase in new job adverts as COVID restrictions start to lift

  • 146,000 new job adverts posted in the third week of March, giving a total of 1.29 million active job adverts in the UK
  • Higher numbers of new job postings in past two weeks suggest increase in hiring as the economy starts to re-open
  • Rise in job adverts for veterinary nurses, bricklayers, sales and retail assistants, as well as roles in hospitality
  • East and West Dunbartonshire remained hiring hotspots in mid-March, while the biggest fall was on the Isle of Wight

In the third week of March, there were 146,000 new job adverts posted in the UK. This follows a further 179,000 in the previous week – the two highest weekly figures since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The labour market has been remarkably resilient through the latest national lockdown, and this increase in new job adverts could indicate a growing number of businesses looking to bring in new staff in the coming months as restrictions ease.

In contrast, the number of active job postings in the UK fell to 1.29 million in mid-March, a drop of 1.8% week-on-week, as more adverts expired and were removed from job sites. This churn in the jobs market is likely to reflect the changes that are taking place in the economy, as some sectors and regions grow and others struggle.

There has also been a higher proportion of job adverts for temporary roles in recent weeks – showing how important these roles are as businesses prepare to emerge from the third lockdown. Temporary roles represented around 16.3% of all active job adverts in mid-March 2021, compared to 15.1% in early July 2020 as the first lockdown was eased, and 14.0% in mid-March 2020. 

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“The fact that we have just had the best two weeks for new jobs postings since last March is a sure sign of the resilience of our jobs market, and the hard work recruiters are doing to get people into roles. There are particularly positive signs for the retail, leisure and hospitality industries, as businesses in those sectors look to prepare for re-opening. And we continue to see the importance of temporary work in helping businesses and workers get back on their feet.

“As we reach the tail end of the pandemic, job creation is returning. But it’s clear that the recovery will not recreate exactly the same economy as we had before. Pathways into work matter – especially for young people, who have been most severely affected by the last year. But so do job transitions into growing sectors that are already facing labour and skills shortages. Reforming our skills system, including the apprenticeship levy, and making the new immigration system work more effectively for our economy will be key debates in the months and years to come.”

REC London Article

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