Key Points

  • Many sectors and occupations in the UK have reported increasing recruitment difficulties in recent times.
  • These have tended to be accompanied by strong job posting growth, a trend mirrored across Europe for similar sectors.
  • Job posting growth in the UK has been faster for roles requiring mid and lower-level qualifications than in those with higher qualification requirements. 
  • Non-EU interest into the UK labour market has spiked, unlike in other European countries. 

The UK labour market has experienced key changes in recent years due to the pandemic and Brexit. Using data provided by Indeed Hiring Lab, the Migration Advisory Committee — the body responsible for advising the UK government on migration issues — has examined the extent to which labour market impacts from these events are unique to the UK. The international comparability of Indeed data helps to draw out similarities and differences with developments in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. 

Since freedom of movement from the EU ended, some sectors and occupations have reported increasing recruitment difficulties in the UK. These include food processing, hospitality, logistics, manufacturing, care and aviation. In most of these employment areas, strong job posting growth in the UK (particularly after reopening from pandemic lockdowns) has mirrored similarly substantial growth in other European countries. 

Analysis of UK job posting growth by qualification level shows that growth has been fastest for jobs requiring mid- and lower-level qualifications than for those with higher qualification requirements. The fastest growth has been in jobs requiring A-levels or NVQs. That’s closely followed by roles requiring GCSE equivalents (typically not eligible for skilled worker visas but may be eligible for other visas, such as seasonal agricultural workers). Roles requiring a degree or equivalent have seen the slowest growth in job postings. 

One trend that does stand out as unique to the UK is on the jobseeker side, where overseas interest from outside the EU has surged in a manner that has not happened in other European countries. This shift corresponds with a more liberal UK immigration policy for non-EU workers, leading to more occupations being eligible for skilled worker visas than previously. But that’s of limited comfort to the aforementioned sectors — higher non-EU interest has been primarily directed towards the higher-paid, higher-skilled end of the labour market, with jobs requiring a degree or equivalent seeing the largest uplift in interest. Access the full Migration Advisory Committee report here.