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Employment

Nearly one million job vacancies available across the UK as lockdown eases

The sectors with most job vacancies are IT, with over 120,000 vacancies, trade and construction with nearly 95,000, and engineering, teaching, logistics and warehouse work with more than 70,000 in each area.

There are nearly one million advertised job vacancies across the UK ahead of lockdown easing on May 17, the highest level since November 2019, according to figures seen exclusively by the Big Issue.

The job site Adzuna, which indexes 95 per cent of the job adverts across the country, says it has seen six consecutive weeks of “rapid vacancy growth” since lockdown restrictions began to loosen, with many businesses desperate for staff ahead of the further easing of rules next week. Adverts have topped 900,000 for five weeks in a row, up nearly 18 per cent since the end of March.The top hiring sectors are IT, with over 120,000 vacancies, trade and construction with nearly 95,000, and engineering, teaching, logistics and warehouse work with more than 70,000 in each area.

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Hospitality and catering vacancies have soared since lockdown restrictions have eased, up 177 per cent compared to six weeks ago, causing many to voice concern that pubs and restaurants may not be able to open as hoped because of a staff shortage.Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, said: “We’re approaching the milestone of one million jobs in the UK thanks to rapid hiring over recent weeks ready for the final lifting of lockdown restrictions. In particular, retailers and restaurants and bars are hiring at pace for the reopening, though there is hot competition for staff, with many hospitality and retail workers having left the industry to look for more secure work after the ups and downs of the last year. Foreign workers have also fallen in number, further hitting these industries.”

Top hiring hospitality companies include Whitbread with nearly 1,500 jobs and Stonegate Pub Company with just over 1,000. Firms such as Pizza Express, Domino’s Pizza, JD Wetherspoon, Compass Group, Marriott and Nando’s are all looking to fill hundreds of vacancies.

The UK’s other biggest hirers include retailers such as New Look and  Primark, delivery companies like Yodel/ Home Delivery Network, and the British Army, which is looking to fill 405 vacancies.

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Job adverts in legal, and creative and design industries are also up, by 31 per cent and 27 per cent respectively since six weeks ago, big companies looking for staff including DWF, with 107 vacancies, Citi with 59 and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with 55. The BBC has 50 job adverts.

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While London and the South East have the most vacancies across the UK, it is other cities that have seen above average vacancy growth in April, with Milton Keynes, Salford, Slough and Luton, Birmingham and Cambridge leading the way.

“Geographically, cities like London with a high proportion of office workers, retail and hospitality jobs have been slower to recover from the pandemic , but with these sectors rapidly opening up, we expect to see hiring gains in these areas,” says Hunter. “Engineering and logistics strongholds like Birmingham, and IT hotspots like Cambridge, will continue to go from strength to strength, with growth in these sectors showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.”

There has also been a spike in interest in retraining and online courses to get people job-ready, according to online training platforms such as Futurelearn and Learnisa. There have been over 258,000 enrolments into Futurelearn’s How to Succeed at: Interviews from the University of Sheffield and a 350 per cent increase in enrolments in tech and coding courses between 2019 and 2020, with over half of enrolments by women.

The organisation Springboard has launched the intitivate Springboard to 2022, including a digital hospitality academy, to try and solve the need for more staff in hospitality and leisure, and is hoping to recruit 10,000 young people to train up and join the industry by next year.

Chris Gamm, chief executive of Springboard, said “retraining has become a genuine option for people who have faced redundancy or been placed on furlough as a result of the pandemic, to prepare for new ventures in other industries.

“Very often, when thinking about roles in hospitality, we think of chefs or front of house roles but the  industry is fast moving and entrepreneurial, it needs not only chefs and service expertise, but experts in technology, finance, IT, HR and marketing too.”To take the pressure off employers, we’re acting as a central hub to seek out, secure, train and nurture the future talent pipeline. We will then work with those we’ve trained to help them identify roles and, ultimately, get them into employment.

“Our training schemes offer young people the opportunity to develop skills across a wide range of job roles which are available in the industry. These young people are essential to protect the future of our industry.”

Career tips and advice from our Jobs and Training series:

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