More than 20 applicants for every UK job

Job Centre signAs the UK economy slides towards recession once again, every job advertised in the UK attracts 23 applicants, new research reveals.

Based on information from around four million unemployed Britons, the study from recruitment website Totaljobs also indicates that jobs that require no professional skills have seen the largest increase in the number of applications per available post.

Over the past year, the number of applications for vacant customer service, secretarial and retail roles has jumped by more than 50%, meaning that between 42 and 46 people now typically apply for each position.

Britons searching for employment in these professions are therefore facing the fiercest competition.

Where in the country you are looking for a job also has an impact. In the South East, for example, there is an average of 33 applications for each job, while those advertised in East Anglia attract an average of just 10 candidates.

John Salt, director of Totaljobs, said: "Since March, the whole market has frozen, and the omens for 2012 are pretty grim. For starters, we are heading inexorably towards recession with no real end in sight."

High levels of redundancy in the public sector are one of the main reasons for the intense competition faced by today's job hunters.

Official figures out earlier this week revealed that about 740 State workers are losing their jobs every day at the moment, while it is estimated that just one private sector position is coming available for every 13 lost by a public sector employee.

The shrinking public sector workforce is not the only problem, though. A quarter of firms also expect to recruit 'fewer people' as a result of the Government's decision to scrap the default retirement age, which gave employers the option of forcing workers to leave at age 65, this year.

The economic backdrop is also prompting growing concerns about private sector redundancies, with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) predicting a "slow, painful contraction".

Its figures suggest that the number of people out of work in the UK is set to rise by about 120,000 in 2012.

This will push the total number of unemployed Britons to 2.85 million, or 8.8% of the population - a level not seen since 1994.
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