Recovery roadmap leads to vacancies surge

Vacancies across the UK recorded a 10%, week-on-week rise at the end of February ahead of the easing of government lockdown restrictions, according to a new survey.

A woman at a laptop holds graphics of people illustrating an article about job vacancies
The latest real-time statistics from the global network of job boards, Broadbean Technology, showed the increase at the end of last month resulted in the highest number of vacancies so far in 2021.

Employment: demand for workers is up in the education and training sectors

But while there was a marked rise in sectors such as education, finance and insurance, the leisure and tourism industries continued to struggle. There was also a substantial decline in the number of job-seekers in many areas.Demand across the education and training sector increased noticeably - not least because English schools fully reopened this week - with a 33% week-on-week at the end of February."However, while demand is up in education and training, the number of applicants applying for roles has halved since January, suggesting the sector is continuing to struggle with a shortage of ready to work professionals that could impede the smooth re-opening of schools," Broadbean reported.In January, education and training reported an average application per vacancy (APV) of 20 people. By last month, however, this had dropped to just ten. "This is a stark comparison to the APV numbers reported ahead of the return to school after the summer break last year, with the average number of education and training applications per vacancy sitting at 28 in Q3 2020."

Increased vacancies in insurance in finance industries follows the UK "roadmap" to post-pandemic "normal"

The increase in insurance and finance vacancies stood at 23% by the last week in February, which Broadbean said was indicative of organisations gearing up to ramp up business following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of a 'roadmap' to return the country to a post-pandemic normal over the coming months.

Leisure and tourism industries continue to struggle, with a 42% declinie in vacancies

But leisure and tourism continued to struggle, reporting a 42% decline in vacancies at the end of February - indicative, suggested Broadbean, of a reaction to the government announcement that indoor leisure centres and outdoor attractions would not be able to start resuming business until April.Alex Fourlis, managing director at Broadbean Technology said, “It’s encouraging to see an overall increase in vacancies across the UK following the prime minister’s announcement of a roadmap to recovery, and ahead of the latest Budget."There’s no doubt that this bolstered confidence amongst hirers and we hope that the extension of business support schemes throughout the rest of this year will further help the UK economy – and in turn the recruitment market – build back stronger.“The rise in hiring across education and training is to be expected following the confirmation that schools would return. However, the decline in the number of applications per vacancy is a concerning statistic."Throughout the pandemic we have seen education institutions struggling to source teaching professionals – both permanent and supply – to cover lessons. With rapid testing facilities being rolled out to help combat the spread of the virus, it’s likely that schools will face staff shortages as teachers face periods of isolation.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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