What the increase in job vacancies means to employers and candidates
In April the ONS (Office for National Statistics) published their findings on job vacancies in the UK for the quarter January to March 2022. They reported an increase in the number of job vacancies in the UK to almost 1.3 million; 492,400 more than the same period in 2020.
While this could be seen as a positive sign for unemployment rates, the ONS described the findings as a ‘mixed picture’, mainly because of the rise in the cost of living and the total employment figure remaining below its pre-pandemic level.
Since the start of the pandemic around half a million workers have disengaged from the labour market. With candidates firmly in the driving seat, employers are finding it tough to fill vacancies.
Five sectors with a critical labour shortage
In January to March 2022, the five sectors with the highest percentage growth in job vacancies were identified by the ONS as:
Accommodation and food service activities
Since January to March 2020: 92.9%
Since the previous quarter (October to December 2021): - 4.6%
The pandemic created job losses in the hospitality sector, and according to The Caterer it seems that establishments are finding it hard to lure workers back to unsocial hours and having to work with inexperienced colleagues.
Since January to March 2020: 84.7%
Since the previous quarter (October to December 2021): 18.7%
The construction sector has a lot of catching up to do. With the majority of skilled contractors deployed on build projects there aren’t enough left to fill the increasing number of vacancies.
Since January to March 2020: 82.3%
Since the previous quarter (October to December 2021): 0.3%
The pandemic and Brexit have reduced the manufacturing talent pool. There is also a lack of interest in the sector from young talent.
Professional scientific and technical activities
Since January to March 2020: 79.5%
Since the previous quarter (October to December 2021): 9.7%
Sometimes categorised as ‘professional services’, there is a lack of highly skilled applicants available to take up posts in this sector.
Transport and storage
Since January to March 2020: 59.9%
Since the previous quarter (October to December 2021): 1.4%
According to the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, prior to Brexit, 400,000 migrant workers were employed in the transport sector. The pandemic added fuel to the fire resulting in such a high percentage increase in vacancies.
What do candidates want in 2022?
An employer needs to understand what candidates want to entice the best talent to their company.
Workers have become used to having more flexibility in their working lives. Home working, hybrid working and flexible hours are all high on a candidate’s wish list.
Career growth is a motivational factor in a candidate’s choice of employer so they look for evidence of potential career development.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)
Whether for themselves or for the care of others, or both, a company’s diversity, equity and inclusion policy now has a significant bearing on a candidate’s choice of employer in 2022.
A company’s commitment to the mental wellbeing of its employees is identified as a key motivator for candidates who want to feel secure, valued and protected at work.
Company brand and culture
Candidates are more inclined to research the culture and values of a company brand to ensure they match their own before accepting an offer of employment.
This is the time for candidates to shine!
In the current candidate-driven market, job applicants have the opportunity to shine and secure a dream role. With less competition, this is the perfect opportunity for candidates to hog the limelight and make employers take notice of what they have to offer.
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