Fall in job adverts as some sectors continue to struggle – report

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

The number of job adverts has fallen to the lowest level since last summer, new research suggests.

There were 1.3 million adverts in the first week of February, 3.1% down on the previous week and 14.4% lower than mid-January, said the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The latest figure is the lowest since June 2020, although the report added that new vacancies are still being posted on job sites.

The scale of this “churn” is likely to reflect changes in the economy, as some firms and sectors grow while others are still struggling, said REC.

Chief executive Neil Carberry said: “With uncertainty levels high, it is unsurprising to see a note of caution amongst hirers, though new vacancies have not dropped to anywhere near the levels seen last spring.

“REC surveys suggest this is a pause that is likely to end as restrictions ease, with temporary hiring continuing to deliver opportunities to workers even as permanent roles are less common than before Christmas.

“The vaccine rollout means demand in the health sector remains high, and the construction industry is still hiring strongly as building sites remain open.”

East Lothian and Midlothian saw the biggest weekly fall in job postings, followed by North Hampshire and the Scottish Borders, said the report.

Occupations with the highest increase in job adverts included dispensing opticians, pharmacy and other dispensing assistants, bricklayers, town planning officers, and plasterers.

The biggest falls were for conference and exhibition organisers, and fitness instructors.

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