The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Lightcast’s latest Labour Market Tracker has found the number of new job adverts in August has remained at a robust level each week, suggesting greater confidence among hiring companies than last summer.

There were 189,888 new job postings in the week of 7-13 August 2023 – 3.5 per cent higher than the week before (31 July-6 August 2023) and 28.8 per cent higher than the year before (8-14 August 2022). The figure has remained stable around and above 1.4 million since February 2022. New job postings have remained stable above 140,000 since January 2022.

Last August was the onset of a slowdown in hiring that coincided with peak inflation and rises in cost of capital for firms. Over the past few months, the REC’s JobsOutlook survey has suggested firms were gaining confidence in their hiring plans, and this new data seems to suggest that firms are more active this summer than last.

The number of active postings in the week of 7-13 August 2023 was 2,303,479 – a 7.2 per cent increase compared to the previous week (31 July- 6 August 2023) but 60 per cent higher than the year before (8-14 August 2022) when there were 1,439,819 active job adverts. At this time last year, the recruitment market slowed, and active job postings went down until September, but today’s figures show persistent demand matched by adverts staying active for longer as some roles remain difficult to fill.

“Over the course of the last year, we have seen hiring slow gently in many sectors, while labour shortages persist in others,” said Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC. “Businesses have been more cautious about hiring in light of high inflation and cost of capital, as well as wider economic concerns. Client feedback for the past couple of months has been more positive, however, and we can see this reflected in today’s job advert numbers. Firms are ready to recruit for the future and more confident in their plan – a stark contrast with the more cautious and concerned view of August 2022.

“The high level of live job adverts remains a signal of hiring difficulties firms are experiencing in some markets, due to a range of factors including skills shortages, job design and access to candidates,” he added. “It emphasises again the need for firms to get their approach to the market right, working with professional recruiters. While growth has been slow, labour supply is still constricted, and candidates have choices.

“We remain concerned by the need to drive growth in our economy – this is the only answer to delivering prosperity for workers and funding public services well. Across skills, immigration, welfare, infrastructure and taxation, a strong industrial strategy is needed to make sure that we can deliver the best from the UK’s brilliant but not limitless labour force.”


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