There are more job vacancies in the UK than at any time since the heady days before the recession, according to figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). According to the ONS, there are now 580,000 vacancies in the UK, the highest figure since September 2008, when the economy was at its pre-recession height. This is up from 492,000 in the same period (November to January) a year ago.
The ONS also states that the number of people out of work fell by 125,000 to 2.34m in the final quarter of 2013. More than 193,000 more people were in work in the three months to the end of December than in the previous quarter. This brings the total number in employment to more than 30m.
Kate Shoesmith, Head of Policy at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), says:
“Today’s figures are more good news. The key indicators about numbers of people in work, benefits claimants, and both youth and long-term unemployed are going in the right direction.
Even better, the official statistics are starting to reflect the data we collect every month from recruiters, which shows that both starting salaries for permanent jobs and agency worker pay rates are increasing month-on-month.
There’s more good news when you look behind the headline statistics. For instance, we know that nine out of 10 employers have offered a permanent role to someone who was temping for them in the last year.”
All of which is extremely positive news and a refreshing change from the doom and gloom of 12-24 months ago. However one word of caution would be that with rising job vacancies and employment figures, employers and recruiters alike only have a finite pool of potential candidates from which to source the required talent. Plus as the economic outlook improves, employers are rightfully working harder and harder to retain their top talent.
Therefore employers and recruiters alike will have to work increasingly harder and be ever more creative and imaginative in their candidate attraction strategies. If that is, we are to feed and satisfy the positivity and post-recession growth.
Simon Walton is a Partner and Head of the Retail & Consumer Practice at Berwick Partners
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