Yes, Job Vacancies Are At A 20-Year High, But It's Not So Simple

These are the 20 sectors with the most jobs going spare – as vacancies hit 1.1 million.
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Looking for a new job? According to the latest official figures – and countless headlines – the number of job vacancies in the UK has hit a record high.

Between July and September, vacancies hit 1.1 million, the highest level since records began in 2001, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS said: “The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus, with the number of employees on payroll in September now well exceeding pre-pandemic levels,”

“Vacancies also reached a new one-month record in September, at nearly 1.2 million, with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid-19.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it was “encouraging” to see the government’s jobs strategy working. “The number of expected redundancies remained very low in September, there are more employees on payrolls than ever before and the unemployment rate has fallen for eight months in a row,” Sunak said.

However, Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, UK told the BBC labour market shortages “could stunt” the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

“The recovery is testing the capacity of the economy to adjust to a new post-pandemic environment, a task made more difficult by the reduced availability of overseas workers,” she said.

“Acute skill shortages have pushed vacancies to record levels for a second month in a row in September, as employers struggled to find skilled staff.”

If you’re finding yourself struggling to land a job right now, the picture is more complicated than it seems.

So, where are all the job vacancies?

Hospitality, accommodation, food services and manufacturing have all seen rises in vacancies.

There is also a well documented shortage of lorry drivers which has affected fuel supplies and food supply chains in recent weeks, and is being blamed on the combined impact of Covid and Brexit.

Tony Wilson, director of the IES, said there were now fewer unemployed people per vacancy than at any time in at least 40 years, “driven particularly by fewer older people in work and more young people in education”.

The job listing website Total Jobs has found that confidence among candidates is actually on the rise over the last month: 42% of people are more prepared to negotiate with a new employer, 48% of the public are more selective when applying for roles, and 29% of people believe their skills are more valuable in a post-Covid jobs market.

“Almost a fifth of HR leaders we have spoken to said that their main focus of the remainder of 2021 was to increase the number of people applying for their roles in order to meet rising demand for their services,” said the site’s spokesperson.

The 20 industries with the most job vacancies

According to Total Jobs:

  1. Logistics, 11,170 jobs

  2. IT, 9,603 jobs

  3. Catering, 7,117 jobs

  4. Managment, 5,269

  5. Skilled Trades, 5,022

  6. Health, 4,882 jobs

  7. Sales, 4,114 jobs

  8. Engineering, 4,004 jobs

  9. Social Care, 3,966 jobs

  10. Construction, 3,873 jobs

  11. Education, 3,219 jobs

  12. Customer Service, 3,213 jobs

  13. Manufacturing, 2,798 jobs

  14. Administration, 2,745 jobs

  15. Human Resources, 2,330 jobs

  16. Accountancy, 2,265 jobs

  17. Marketing, 1,774 jobs

  18. Consulting, 1,601 jobs

  19. Retail, 1,300 jobs

  20. Finance, 1,167 jobs