Skills shortage affecting three-quarters of UK cities

Posted on: November 11th, 2015


We always like to keep on top of the latest goings on in the UK job market – the good, the bad and the ugly – which is why we found the results of a new Adzuna Jobs survey so interesting and wanted to share the information with you.

According to Adzuna’s most recent UK Job Market report, the jobs market is being held back by a very real shortage of skilled labour. In fact, the findings reveal that in September this year, three-quarters of UK cities struggled to fill their advertised vacancies.

This means that 41 out of the 56 UK cities included in the report had more vacancies than viable candidates to fill those roles. In contrast, only 27 cities experienced the same problem in 2014.

On a positive note, advertised vacancies steadily increased during this time as seasonal and graduate positions entered the market; vacancies were up 2.4% from August to September, and were up nearly a third (30%) from the same time last year.

However, this isn’t such good news when we consider that those positions are proving difficult to fill.

One reason for this is that the number of jobseekers is dwindling, falling to below 700,000 (685,456) for the first time since the recession. Some individuals are entering temporary or part-time jobs, while others are turning to self-employment with the view that it could provide more security; all of which means job competition is now at 0.58 applicants per vacancy, a 43.1% drop from the 1.02 jobseekers per role recorded in September last year.

Meanwhile, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that unemployment in the UK is currently at its lowest level since 2008, falling to 5.4% in September 2015.

Commenting on the report, Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter explains that although reduced job competition should be good news for those seeking work, the “significant skills shortage within the labour force” means that a growing number of vacancies are being left empty.

With many cities finding they don’t have the local talent needed to fill new positions, more and more companies are having to rely on workers from other parts of the country or overseas.

With this in mind, Hunter advises that increased mobility could be one solution for jobseekers looking for employment. Flexibility, he says, is key, and with “extending transport networks set to benefit all regions of the country, migrating to a different city could be the proactive approach to securing work.”

Although it’s good to see vacancy growth and a decline in unemployment, the paradox is the decline in advertised salaries and the skills shortages as we can see here. Clients who have hard-to-fill commercial support roles come to us because they have often been unsuccessful in filling their own vacancies; so, we are always working hard to ensure we build our company profile to attract talent both regionally and further afield to those who are interested in relocating to this area.

Image: Bridge Workers by zoonabar, available under a CC BY-SA license.

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