Christmas hiring is propping up the UK jobs market with an increase in Retail and Warehouse & Logistics vacancies causing total vacancies to rise ahead of the festive shopping period, reversing a four-month decline, according to UK Job Market Report by job search engine Adzuna.

Total advertised job vacancies in October reached 1,026,434, up +0.35 per cent compared to September, the first positive growth since June this year. Whilst vacancies are still lower than last year’s levels, down -5.08 per cent, this is the smallest year-on-year gap between annual vacancy rates since February 2023, when hiring trends had fallen by a fifth compared to 2022 (-20.72 per cent).

It’s not all good news however, as advertised salaries are continuing to fall, following the downward trend in inflation. Annual advertised salaries dropped -0.4 per cent this month to £36,946, a four-month consecutive fall and down from an annual high of £37,807 in June. UK advertised salaries are now at their lowest for six months, down -1.89 per cent from April when they averaged £37,658. Yet, they are still higher than the same time last year, up +1.41 per cent.

The number of jobseekers per vacancy has risen slightly to 1.5, with the metric staying rather consistent all year, hovering between 1.51 and 1.45. This is higher than last year’s figures, of 1.38, pointing to more people continuing to look for work across the UK.

Jobs continue to fall in most sectors, but there has been positive growth in hiring for retail and service sectors. Retail job vacancies have increased +8.29 per cent compared to September, with companies continuing to hire extra staff ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas shopping periods. There has also been an increase in Customer Service roles available (+2.5 per cent), Hospitality & Catering (+0.8 per cent), and Logistics & Warehouse (+4.35 per cent).

Graduate job vacancies appear to be recovering from their dramatic fall earlier this year, rising +15.1 per cent month-on-month to reach 26,771 graduate job openings in October. However, year-on-year, vacancies are still down -28.4 per cent, demonstrating that it continues to be a tough job market for new graduates. Energy, Oil & Gas roles continue on a downward spiral, -3.92 per cent compared to September and down -13.2 per cent over the past six months, with Legal jobs suffering the biggest monthly fall (-6.56 per cent).

The time to fill jobs metric has fallen to its lowest level this year, at 34.5 days on average. By sector, Voluntary jobs (28.7) and Admin and Teaching vacancies (both 31.1) are taking the shortest time to fill, rising to 41.4 days and 42.4 for Logistics & Warehouse and Travel respectively.

Warehouse work continues to be the top trending job on Adzuna’s Intelligence Portal for the fifth month in a row. This metric tracks demand for a wide range of occupations and designates an Interest Quotient for each role. The higher the quotient, the more in demand those roles are among Adzuna jobseekers.

Lorry driving roles came second, the same as September, followed by Social Care Worker roles.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Falling advertised salaries may not appear to be good news for jobseekers but it does signal that the menace of inflation is finally in retreat, as the Bank of England considers whether to hold or cut at the next rate-setting meeting in December. We’ve also seen the first regional fall in salaries outside London, with a fall in Wales and growth slowing in other regions. Anticipation of a Christmas boost is driving an increase in Retail and Logistics & Warehouse jobs this month, helping to support the national picture on jobs.”

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