UK job vacancies at record high

Danni Hewson
14 September 2021

•    Unemployment rate down 0.3% for May-July 21 at 4.6%  
•    Job vacancies at a record high – above 1m for the first time 
•    No of employees on the payroll back to pre-pandemic levels
•    Median monthly pay up 6.5% compared to Feb 2020

Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, comments:

“The UK jobs market has been stuck into a blender and whizzed up on high speed.  Considering the incredible disruption caused by the double whammy of COVID and Brexit it is rather incredible the situation is looking as healthy as it is.  August payrolls delivered employee numbers marginally higher than pre-pandemic, unemployment is just 4.6% despite furlough tapering nowhere near the 10% that had initially been feared and pay has skyrocketed.

“But some of those positives are masking huge issues. Recovery has been uneven and there are big questions about how all those jigsaw pieces, pieces which no longer fit in a changed puzzle, will be slotted back into place.  Pay can’t be the only solution. Training will be crucial and some businesses are already considering candidates without the requisite skills, prepared to offer training because the other option is simply unworkable.

“Just because people are without jobs doesn’t automatically mean they’ll fall neatly into those holes.  Places like London and the South East have lagged behind and not everyone can relocate to find work.  Those sectors that saw the greatest decreases have enjoyed the biggest monthly increase between July and August.  From hotels and restaurants to music venues and shops, the jobs in those sectors are coming back which is having a positive impact on employment levels in under 25’s. If you’ve set your heart on one career path it’s debilitating to find that path has been pulled out from under you and many young people will have chosen to go back to their studies rather than step into a world of work that doesn’t meet their needs.

“Then there are the 1.5m people the ONS estimates are still on furlough, either partial or full, and it’s hoped at least some of them will be able to step into the breaches which are having a huge negative impact on the ability of some businesses to even tread water.  Some jobs aren’t considered desirable, some are too temporary to tempt people, particularly if they’re in remote areas, and some are backbreaking.  But all of them need doing if the country is going to continue to grow and livelihoods which have been years in the making aren’t going to be lost.”

Danni Hewson
Financial Analyst

Danni spent more than 19 years at the BBC, presenting and reporting on business news across a variety of programmes – including BBC Breakfast, BBC News Channel, BBC Look North and latterly Radio 5 Live’s flagship business programme ‘Wake up to Money’. She is now responsible for producing analysis and commentary across a broad range of subjects at AJ Bell, from financial markets, to economics and personal finance.

Contact details

Mobile: 07593 451 437

Follow us: