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Latest ONS data reveals record rise in job vacancies in early 2022

Date Posted: 5 July, 2022
Latest ONS data reveals record rise in job vacancies in early 2022


The UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that job vacancies between February and April 2022 rocketed to a new record-breaking high.


The ONS data shows that there were a huge 1,295,000 roles unfilled across the UK during the first few months of the year. This is an increase of 33,700 compared to the previous quarter, and nearly 500,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels.


Other key statistics from the latest ONS jobs update:

  • The ratio of vacancies to jobs has reached another record high – rising to 4.3 vacancies per 100 employee jobs.
  • Quarterly vacancy growth dropped to 2.7%, compared to 5.8% in the previous quarter. This represents the ninth consecutive quarter where vacancy growth has fallen.
  • For the first time, the number of vacancies was higher than the number of unemployed people between January and March 2022.
  • Record-high movement of unemployed people into work, especially those in the 16-24 age group. Plus, an increase in job-to-job moves.
  • The UK employment rate increased just 0.1% in the last quarter, up to 75.7%.


Which industries are most affected? 


Many sectors have experienced record high ratios of vacancies to jobs, according to the ONS. In terms of quarterly growth, the fastest rate (33%) is seen in arts, entertainment and recreation. Construction followed closely behind, with a growth rate of 28.1%.


Even though quarterly vacancy growth has been slowing down over the last few periods, the ONS reports that nearly all industries increased their vacancies between Feb and April 2022. 14 out of 18 sectors posted new roles in this period, and all were above their pre-Covid levels.


The sector which has seen the biggest change in vacancies since Jan-March 2020 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, food service and accommodation. It has seen a 100.6% jump in roles since before the pandemic began.


Skills shortages need to be addressed


Neil Carberry, the CEO of the Recruitment & Employment Federation (REC) told Recruiter that the rise in job vacancies continues to present a wealth of opportunities for job hunters.


However, he also warned of increasingly urgent skills shortages. Specifically, the impact this could have on post-Covid economic recovery, industry growth and of course, employers in desperate need of skilled professionals. He said:


“Employment levels and hours worked are still lower than before the pandemic, as more people are not working and also not looking to. Over time, this capacity constraint can only slow growth and contribute to inflation. Business and government need to work together on ways to attract more people back into the labour market, as well as ensuring the new immigration policy addresses fundamental gaps.


“These staff shortages are also contributing to rising pay. But these rises this will only be sustainable if we can grow a productive and competitive economy. Encouraging that growth needs to be the key focus for government moving forward. The cost of living crisis won’t be solved by slogans, or trade wars.”


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