HR · 2 November 2015

More than two thirds of UK cities have more vacancies than there are jobseekers

The skills shortage is an ongoing recruitment problem for businesses
The skills shortage is an ongoing recruitment problem for businesses

More than two thirds of UK cities have more vacancies being advertised than there are jobseekers, due to the ongoing shortage of skilled workers.

Job site Adzuna carried out a study of 56 cities and found there weren’t enough applicants to fill advertised jobs in 41 of them – this was up from 27 the same time last year. Adzuna said more people were finding part-time or temporary work, leading to fewer applicants than vacancies.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna said: “Job competition has fallen to its lowest level since the recession, which should spell good news for those searching for work.”

He said however, that despite the rising number of new positions being advertised, the troubling skills shortage within the labour force “means vacancies are increasingly being left empty”.

“Many cities don’t have enough home-grown talent to fill new positions, meaning companies are increasingly relying on workers from elsewhere in the UK as well as from overseas.”

The report found there were an average of 0.58 job-hunters per vacancy for September 2015, slightly less than the 0.62 jobseekers per vacancy in August.

In terms of the best and worst places to find work, a North-South divide emerged in the report, with the best cities including Cambridge, Guildford, Oxford, Reading and Winchester.

There were 0.09 applicants per vacancy in Cambridge, 0.10 in Guildford and 0.13 in Oxford.

On the flip side, the worst places to find a job were Sunderland, Hull, Bradford, Belfast and Wolverhampton. Sunderland had 4.01 jobseekers per vacancy, while Hull had 3.05.

Hunter said for many jobseekers, the solution to finding employment is “increased mobility”, but the traditional migration from North to South “needs to be broadened”.

“Flexibility is emerging as a key requirement. With the arrival of Crossrail in the future and ever-extending transport networks set to benefit all regions of the country, migrating to a different city could be the proactive approach to securing work,” he added.

The average advertised salary also fell, dropping from £34,695 in 2014 to £33,121. There was a bigger drop in the capital, with the average down 6.9 per cent to £39,815.

Earlier this month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the unemployment rate had fallen to 5.4 per cent – the lowest since 2008. Some 31.12m people are in work, which is 359,000 more than in 2014. There are still 1.77m people unemployed, 198,000 less than a year before.

The employment rate, measuring the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work, was 73.6 per cent – the highest it has been since comparable records began in 1971.

Self-employed numbers did drop however, falling by 26,000 to 4.5m, though it may have partly been down to a reduction in “hidden” unemployment, when people register as self-employed after being unable to find work.

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.