Surge in new job adverts after final COVID restrictions lifted

In the week of 2-8 August, there were a total of 1.65 million active job adverts in the UK, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker. This is the second highest weekly figure since December 2020.

The past three weeks, after the lifting of the final COVID restrictions, have seen near-record numbers of new job adverts being posted online. The last week of July saw 213,000 new postings, the highest weekly figure since mid-May. This was followed by 204,000 last week, the fourth highest weekly figure since the start of the pandemic.

Key insights

  • In the first week of August, there were 1.65 million active job adverts in the UK
  • There were around 204,000 new job adverts posted in the same week, the fourth highest weekly figure since the start of the pandemic
  • The last three weeks have seen the highest numbers of new job postings since mid-May, but labour shortages continue to affect many sectors
  • Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators were in increasing demand last week, as well as insurance underwriters and farm workers
  • Four out of the UK’s top ten hiring hotspots were in north-west England in the first week of August
  • Four of the bottom ten local areas for growth in job adverts were in Scotland

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

“Since the final COVID restrictions were lifted in July, the number of new job adverts has continued to ramp up. Employers are desperate to find good staff to help them recover and grow in the coming months. Recruiters are working flat out to help find the best people but there are shortages of workers in almost every sector across the country. This is starting to translate into higher pay and better benefits for some workers in particular sectors, which is great for people looking for a job. But employers also need more support from government, including an effective, long-term plan on skills. We mustn’t overlook the thousands of workers who need a chance to skill up and improve their earnings but this alone won’t meet demand. We also need an immigration system that has the flexibility to meet employers’ needs.”

There was a significant increase in adverts for photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators last week (+19.3%), as well as for insurance underwriters (+15.5%). The number of adverts for farm workers rose notably (+9.2%) as the harvest season continues, and there was also increased demand for plasterers (+8.2%) and painters and decorators (+4.7%).

On the other hand, playworkers (-20.6%) and other teaching and educational professionals (-14.7%) saw the biggest declines in active job adverts as summer holidays continue and the sector experiences a cooling off period.

Four out of the UK’s top ten areas for growth were in the North West in the first week of August, with the highest growth in Blackpool (+5.2%). This was followed by West Dunbartonshire (+5.2%), the Wirral (+4.9%), and Norwich and East Norfolk (+4.8%).

However, not all areas saw an uplift in job adverts last week. Four out of the bottom ten local areas for growth in active job postings were in Scotland – the Shetland Islands (-9.1%), Na h-Eileanan Siar (-8.4%), Dumfries and Galloway (-6.8%), and East Lothian and Midlothian (-6.4%).