How the UK job market is really fairing right now

UK job market

Here at CV-Library, we regularly tap into our unrivalled data to understand how the job market is really fairing.

And, according to our latest findings, many UK businesses were forced to hike up their pay in August, in a bid to combat a typically tricky period for hiring. In fact, salaries for new roles rose by a staggering 37.8% year-on-year.

At the same time, we found that job applications jumped up by 10.1%, with candidates clearly making the most of this pay boom. Advertised jobs also rose by 2.2%, suggesting that companies are pushing forward with their hiring efforts.

While these findings are largely positive, we cannot ignore the uncertainty that’s looming over the UK economy right now.

So, with employer and job hunter activity giving us mixed messaging, we’re interested to know how the UK job market is really fairing right now.

Where are all the jobs?

According to our data, the majority of the 190,000 jobs posted on our site last month were in the South East (34,128 jobs). This was followed by London (31,461) and the East of England (21,275). Clearly, the capital is still a hub of activity, with recent research revealing that it’s one of the most productive regions in the UK.

When looking at the locations that experienced the biggest jobs booms in August, we found that Scotland led the way. In fact, jobs jumped up by 19.4% in Scotland, including 36.4% in Aberdeen, 26.7% in Glasgow,23.2% in Stirling, 18.9% in Perth and 8.3% in Edinburgh.

In terms of the areas that saw the biggest declines in jobs, the North East and West Midlands appear to be hit the hardest. In fact, jobs fell by 10.1% in the North East (including a drop of 11.2% in Newcastle) and 6.7% in the West Midlands (including a 5.1% drop in Birmingham).

We know that there is a storm on the horizon in the form of Brexit, which is leaving many organisations in these areas facing a huge sense of economic uncertainty.

Why are salaries rising?

Given the busy holiday season, August is a notoriously tricky time to hire. As such, our data suggests that employers are feeling the pressure to pull out all the stops when it comes to salaries and attempting to attract the best talent to their roles.

In fact, the findings show that salaries have hit a four-month high, with certain experiencing even bigger surges in pay. This includes the North East (up 80.1%), the South East (63.8%), the South West (60.7%), the East of England (34.9%), and the East Midlands (34.3%).

While these certainly paint a promising picture, in reality, times are tough for businesses right now. So, we cannot view these dramatic salary increases as an improvement in the UK job market; rather a desperate attempt to entice professionals out of their current roles. 

Are candidates feeling confident?

Interestingly, the data also shows that applications are up by 10.2% year-on-year, suggesting that many UK job hunters are making the most of booming pay. Indeed, applications increased the most in the South East (15.2%), the East of England (12.5%) and the South West (10.9%).

In terms of specific cities, Bristol (27.7%), Brighton (22%) and London (15.6%) experienced the biggest jumps in applications last month. As a result, this brought the application to job ratio up by 21.9% in Bristol, 9% in Brighton and 14% in London.

That being said, while applications are up right now, we know that the national employment rate is at an all-time high. Many employers are still struggling to fill their roles, and there is still an evident skills shortage in the UK. In turn, this has clearly resulted in a huge jump in pay. For now, we’ll need to sit patiently and wait to see what happens with parliament in the coming weeks.

So, how is the job market fairing?

Overall, it’s clear that companies are pushing forward in the face of uncertainty, but we mustn’t take these insights as a sign that our economy is recovering.

With no real clarification on the outcome of Brexit, we know that employers and job hunters are remaining cautious right now.

The good news is if you are hiring, there are a high number of professionals looking for work, which should only pick up as we move into September.

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