UK Job Postings Through 24 September: Demand Strengthens Further
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Jack is an Economist on the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the UK/Ireland labour market. Before joining Indeed, Jack was a senior economist at Nationwide Building Society and prior to that at global information provider IHS Markit. He holds an MSc in finance and economic policy from SOAS, University of London and a BSc in economics and finance from the University of York.