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Jobs Outlook Report – December 2021

2022 is launching itself from the starting blocks with intensity when we look at the most recent recruitment data available up until the end of last year. Indeed, unemployment continued on its downward trend, with the ONS reporting that there were 257, 000 more employees on payrolls in November 2021 than just the month before.


Indeed, this means the numbers of payrolled employees are now actually 1.5% higher than before the pandemic.


However, as Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC says,

“2022 will be the year we discover staff shortages will outlive the pandemic as an economic issue.”

This situation paints the backdrop as we head into the New Year.


The latest jobs picture

The backdrop of the painting is definitely staff shortages, and the latest REC Report on Jobs continues the themes of all the recent reports in this regard. However, overall, the fall in the number of candidates did actually slow slightly, even though realistically the numbers are still sharp.


This is the tenth successive month that candidate numbers have dropped. Against this dominant backdrop, other notable points in the data include:


  • Hiring continues apace

In terms of both temporary and permanent jobs, hiring is continuing intensely, representing the tenth month of growth. Demand for new recruits is strong, employers are feeling reasonably confident, and they want to secure the talent they need. Generally speaking, demand is still heavier on the permanent side, again giving credence to the confidence of employers. The North of England is definitely experiencing the fastest upturn, with recruitment agencies, hiring managers and candidates in this area very busy indeed!


In terms of temporary jobs, these too increased, and for the seventeenth month in a row in December. It’s most likely that this is happening precisely because of the staff shortages, as employers try to plug their gaps.


  • Vacancy growth is strong but slowing

The number of vacancies in the UK continues to grow, but the rate of that growth is slowing, with an eight-month low in the data. The growth is definitely rapid though, and also goes some way to explain the candidate shortages. There are a lot of vacancies for people to choose from! Again, it’s permanent vacancies that are leading the way.


In fact, when we couple this with data from the ONS, we see that there has been a 115.8% increase in the number of vacancies between the last quarter of 2020 and that of 2021. In the three months to November there were nearly one and a quarter million open permanent job vacancies in the UK – a record high.


What jobs are the vacancies in? Well, pretty much everything! IT & computing vacancies continue dominating the trends, but there are vacancies in all sectors.


  • Starting pay continues to rise

Unsurprisingly, starting pay therefore continues to edge upwards and this is true for both permanent and temporary staff. In fact, the rates of increase are near record levels.


Again, this is in line with ONS data revealing a +4.9% increase in employee earnings in the three months to October.


Starting 2022 strongly

For employers, they need to strengthen their recruitment practices by partnering with savvy and fast-moving recruitment consultants, able to understand and navigate the candidate shortages.


Candidates need to take advantage of their options in the current marketplace.


There is going to be a large amount of movement over the next few months, and onwards into 2022.



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