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UK Job Postings Through 24 September: Demand Strengthens Further

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Driver shortages seem likely to continue amid high demand across Europe.

We regularly update this report to track the pandemic’s effects on the labour market. 

UK job postings on Indeed advanced further in the latest fortnight. Job postings — a real-time measure of labour market activity — were 28.5% above the 1 February 2020, pre-pandemic baseline, seasonally adjusted, as of 24 September 2021. 

With furlough ending this week, uncertainty hangs over more than a million jobs still supported by the scheme. While strong labour demand is a welcome backdrop, there are concerns over the extent to which available jobs are a good match for those workers who find themselves let go by employers once that support expires. 

A line graph titled “Job postings on Indeed UK” showing the percentage change in job postings on Indeed UK since 01 Feb 2020, seasonally adjusted, to 24 Sep 2021. There was a 28.5% change in UK job postings on Indeed from 01 Feb 2020 to 24 Sep 2021.

Driver shortages 

With shortage of lorry drivers reaching critical levels and disrupting supply chains, the UK government has offered temporary visas to 5,000 foreign HGV drivers to try and ease the situation. But demand across Europe is also strong and drivers have plenty of options elsewhere. 

A line graph titled “Demand for new drivers is high across Europe” showing the percentage change in job postings on Indeed UK since 01 Feb 2020, seasonally adjusted, to 24 Sep 2021. Italy had the highest change in job postings at 83%, while Spain had the lowest change at 5%.

It’s tougher to find candidates for HGV driver jobs than general driving jobs (which includes van and delivery drivers), unsurprisingly given they need special licences. In the UK, HGV driver jobs receive one-third of the clicks relative to the average posting in the wider driving category. 

That gap is even greater in big EU countries. In Germany and France it’s closer to one-quarter, while in Italy it’s less than one-fifth. 

A bar graph titled “Demand for HGV drivers is high relative to jobseeker supply” showing the clicks per HGV driver job posting relative to the average driving posting between 1-17 Sep 2021. The UK had the highest relative clicks per posting at 0.33, while Italy had the lowest at 0.19.

HGV driver wages up 12.8% in six months 

We’ve seen a wage response to the hiring squeeze*. The median advertised wage in driving job postings rose 7.6% between February and August. For HGV drivers specifically, the rise was 12.8%. Across all jobs on Indeed, median wages rose just 1.0%. There’s also been an increase in employers offering signing bonuses for drivers. 

A key question is whether these significant increases will be enough to attract people to HGV driver training or foreign qualified drivers to the temporary visa programme. 

Wide variation in sectoral recoveries  

While overall job postings have recovered strongly, there is marked variation across categories. Loading & stocking and cleaning & sanitation postings are at least double pre-pandemic levels. Other categories also show impressive growth, including certain healthcare occupations, retail, manufacturing, food preparation & service and driving. 

Conversely, aviation job postings lag 47% behind pre-pandemic levels. Though international travel restrictions are easing, the sector is far from a full recovery and still has high dependency on soon-to-end furlough. 

Table titled “Wide variation in sectoral recoveries.” Indeed compared the percent change in UK job postings, between 01 February, 2020, and 24 Sep 2021 across various sectors divided into sections “strongest performers,” and “weakest performers.” The strongest performers were loading & stocking, cleaning & sanitation and physicians & surgeons, while the weakest performers were aviation, beauty & wellness and childcare.  

London continues to lag other regions 

The North East continues to lead the regional recovery, with job postings 59% above the pre-pandemic level. There’s not much sign yet of a London pick-up, despite rising footfall with more workers having returned to offices. London continues to have the weakest recovery, with job postings 12% above the baseline (a 2ppt improvement from a fortnight ago). 

Bar graph titled “Job postings on Indeed UK.” This bar graph shows the percentage change in job postings on Indeed UK since 01 Feb 2020, seasonally adjusted, to 24 Sep 2021. The North East saw a 59% change, the largest, while London saw the lowest % change at 12%.

Northern cities and large towns continue to have strongest recoveries

Looking at job posting recoveries by cities and large towns, northern cities and large towns continue to show the strongest growth. Sunderland has taken top spot, ahead of Barnsley and Middlesbrough.  

As we discussed in a previous post, posting recovery has been fastest in cities with higher shares of manufacturing, distribution, healthcare and education jobs, while areas reliant on hospitality, tourism and highly paid, white-collar, work-from-home jobs trail. 

Aberdeen and Crawley are the only two cities and large towns we track where job postings have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels. 

Table titled “Sunderland takes top spot.” This table shows the percentage change in job postings on Indeed UK since 01 Feb 2020, seasonally adjusted, to 24 September 2021. Sunderland saw a 76% change, the largest, while Aberdeen saw the lowest % change at -18%.Table titled “Sunderland takes top spot.” This table shows the percentage change in job postings on Indeed UK since 01 Feb 2020, seasonally adjusted, to 24 September 2021. Sunderland saw a 76% change, the largest, while Aberdeen saw the lowest % change at -18%.

We host the underlying job-postings chart data on Github as downloadable CSV files. Typically, it will be updated with the latest data one day after this blog post was published.

Methodology

All figures in this blog post are the percentage change in seasonally-adjusted job postings since 1 February, 2020, using a seven-day trailing average. 1 February, 2020, is our pre-pandemic baseline. We seasonally adjust each series based on historical patterns in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Each series, including the national trend, occupational sectors, and sub-national geographies, is seasonally adjusted separately. We adopted this new methodology in January 2021. 

Information is based on publicly available information on the Indeed UK website (and any other countries named in the post), is limited to the UK (and those countries), is not a projection of future events, and includes both paid and unpaid job solicitations. 

*We looked at the relationship between job postings, clicks and wages in sectors experiencing the greatest hiring difficulties in a previous post.