Jobs Outlook for April 2021
By the end of April, we could see some positive changes, not just to our lives, but to jobs, GDP, vaccinations and the economy. We thought we would start this month’s jobs outlook blog by giving you a short breakdown of where we are today and the progress we are making as we come out of the second wave of the Pandemic:
64% of the UK population now has Covid antibodies
GDP is set to grow at the fastest rate since WWII
Manufacturing output is at its highest level for 27 years
The number of available jobs in the UK rose at the fastest rate in 23 years in April.
Is now the time to be optimistic?
We know we are always being told to be cautiously optimistic and if the past 15 months have taught us anything it is that things can change in the blink of an eye. But we believe that a bit of optimism is what we all need at the moment, especially when you look back at the bleaker times we have all endured recently.
Is the jobs market growing?
Yes! In April, permanent placements expanded at their sharpest rate since October 1997 hitting 65.4 on the index and London, the South, Midlands and the North all benefited from this historically steep rise. Substantial growth in temp billings was seen across all four monitored English areas bar London, where a mild expansion was noted reaching 59.2 on the index nationally.
What about vacancies? Are there more opportunities now?
Absolutely! The Total Vacancies Index rose from 62.8 in March to 68.3 in April, to signal a rapid increase in demand for workers. Notably, the rate of expansion was the sharpest recorded for 23 years. Demand for temporary workers also expanded markedly in April with short-term vacancies increasing at the quickest pace since October 2014.
What sectors are seeing the most growth?
As you would expect, Engineering, Accounting/Financial and IT & Computing are at the top of the list and this has been the case not just through Covid, but historically. There has been an exponential increase in the demand for people with digital skills thanks to the tech boom we have experienced recently, but it is worth noting that executive/professional vacancies are now holding their own in 4th place and demand is high for skilled candidates in this sector.
Is candidate availability matching vacancies?
No. The Total Staff Availability Index slipped from 49.9 in March to 44.4 in April, signalling a sharp reduction in the supply of candidates and data broken down by staff type indicated that both permanent and temporary worker availability fell markedly.
Has there been a change in starting salaries?
The good news here is that starting salaries, having dipped during the pandemic, are back to where they were pre-covid. With limitations surrounding available candidates versus vacancies, we are now very much entering a candidate led market which will continue to drive starting salaries in an upwards direction.
What are the challenges ahead?
Whilst the news is good, there are still challenges for both businesses and candidates when it comes to hiring and job searching. Whilst the safety net of furlough exists and uncertainty surrounding covid variants and the efficacy of the vaccine is still being questioned, candidates are being cautious about changing jobs. Now, more than ever, using the services of a knowledgeable recruitment consultancy will be essential in securing the best talent for your business.