The number of job adverts in the UK labour market remains over a million, leading to a high level of demand for staff to fill roles. 

According to new research carried out by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), in the penultimate week of August, there were 1.66 million active job adverts in the UK.

This comes during a time where staff shortages continue to be a concern for both government and businesses – with HGV drivers particularly in demand.

During the same week, there were almost a quarter of a million new job adverts posted (193,000), demonstrating that the labour market is continuing to flourish after the removal of lockdown restrictions which have allowed particularly affected industries to bounce back.

Over the last week, dispensing opticians last week were most in demand (+26.4 per cent), as well as vehicle-related occupations such as driving instructors (+12.9 per cent), vehicle body builders and repairers (+12.9 per cent), and vehicle valeters and cleaners (+9.2 per cent).

Conversely, demand for ambulance staff (excluding paramedics) (-10.1 per cent), conference and exhibition managers and organisers (-9.7 per cent), and standards and regulations inspectors (-7.9 per cent) saw the biggest weekly declines in active job adverts.

In terms of regional trends, Scotland showed a steady increase in active job postings with six out of ten hiring top spots found within this country.

On the opposite end of the scale, Northern Ireland did not fare so well with 60 per cent of the bottom local areas for jobs growth present here. However, it was Sunderland (-21.6 per cent) which saw the biggest drop overall.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

Demand for workers remains very high across the economy and shows no signs of weakening. With businesses in the particularly squeezed food, logistics and hospitality sectors starting to gear up for Christmas, the months ahead could be difficult – even with a large number of people coming off furlough in August and September.

It is worth remembering that some of this could be short-term.

Large numbers of people are finding new work post-pandemic as the economy reshapes. But that realignment will take time, and there is good evidence to suggest that the market will remain tight for some years to come, even if the current crisis passes.

Hiring businesses need to assess their workforce plans and work out how they are going to attract and retain the staff they need in the coming months and years.

Recruitment businesses are best placed to help with this, as experts in the field. But employers also need government to work with them in a practical, co-operative way on skills, unemployment and immigration changes in order to get through this crisis.

*The Jobs Recovery Tracker is produced by the REC in partnership with Emsi, using their Job Postings Analytics data which was harvested between 16 August and 29 August 2021.