The Inside Story

Innovantages’ Monthly Demand Barometer gives insight into growing vacancies

The Inside Story

UK & Europe

In February 2018, Innovantage captured around 2.96 million online job ads. This number was just two per cent higher than a year earlier but a noteworthy 35 per cent higher than in February 2016.

 

Of the c.2.96m total online ads:

  • 2.40m (81 per cent) were original adverts
  • 0.56m (19 per cent) were reposts of previous adverts – suggesting that the role was unfilled via the original post and/or it was role that an employer continually advertised. 

 

At c.2.40 million in February 2018, the number of original job ads was eight per cent higher than a year earlier and 40 per cent higher than in February 2016. Set into context of the most recent total number of UK workforce jobs (35.1m in December 2017), the workforce jobs total was 1.2 per cent (407k) higher than a year earlier and 2.8 per cent (963k) higher than in December 2015.

Set in context of the official ONS vacancy number for the quarter ending February 2018 (816k), UK vacancy numbers were 7 per cent higher than the figure one year earlier and 8 per cent higher than in December 2015-February 2016.  

As such – and as evidenced by the following summary ratios - it appears that employers had to work harder in advertising open roles in February 2018 than they did in either of the two preceding years.

 

  • The ratio of original postings to official vacancies was 3.0 to 1.
    • This was up from 2.9 to 1 a year earlier and 2.3 to 1 in February 2016.
  • The ratio of total ads (including reposts) to official vacancies was 4.1 to 1.
    • This was up from 3.8 to 1 in February 2017 and 2.9 to 1 in February 2016. 

 

 

Regional profile

From a regional perspective, all areas have witnessed increases in the total number of original job ads, but to varying degrees. Regions with notable above-average two-year increases in the number of original ads (+40 per cent) in February 2018 included:

 

  • London: +43 per cent
  • Northern Ireland: +191 per cent

 

In terms of which regions appear the most challenged, as a result of their job posting activity, more than half (52 per cent) of all original job ads in the UK (where the post location was known) were for just three regions in February 2018: London (25 per cent), the South-East (17 per cent) and the North-West (10 per cent).  In the most recently available regional employment data (December 2017), the workforce jobs total of these three regions represented 41 per cent of the UK total: London (17 per cent), South East (14 per cent) and the North West (10 per cent). As such, the data suggests that employers (and their intermediaries) in London and the Southeast have to advertise harder than other regions to fill posts.

Professional, scientific & technical

A notable nine per cent annual increase (in the quarter to February) in the number of official vacancies resulted in a 12 per cent increase in the number of original job ads. Despite one fifth (21 per cent) of total ads originating directly from the employer, the ratio of original ads to vacancies remains the highest within any industry (6.1 ads for every vacancy). This is likely to stem from it also having a high proportion of contingent labour requirements, requiring significant support (from multiple agencies) to fulfill requirements.  

 

 

 Information & communications 

Whilst there was a 13 per cent annual increase in the number of official vacancies, the number of original job ads rose by just seven per cent, resulting in a fall in the ratio of original job ads to vacancies from 5.8 to 1 last year to 5.5 to 1 in February 2018. Moreover, the number and ratio of total job ads to vacancies also fell YoY, suggesting that more roles were filled through the first ad. Once again, the high proportion of contingent workers operating within the sector makes the challenge of sourcing more complex and in need of support from supply chain intermediaries (as evidenced by just 10 per cent of original ads being posted directly). 

 

 

Manufacturing

A 12 per cent year-on-year (YoY) increase in manufacturing vacancies translated into just a 6 per cent YoY increase in online job ads, driving a decline in the ratio of job ads to vacancies. Moreover, there was a YoY decline in the ratio of total job ads to vacancies, from 5.2 to 4.5 to 1. This, once again, suggests that the original postings are being more successful and/or employers are deploying other resourcing initiatives than are translating into on-line job ads.  

 

 

Construction

Whilst there was a noteworthy 10 per cent YoY decline in official vacancy numbers within Construction, the lower decline in the number of jobs (minus three per cent) suggests that employers and their intermediaries are having to working even harder to fill vacant posts. As with the aforementioned sectors, the exceptionally high proportion of contingent workers engaged within this industry is exacerbating this situation, with significant support being required from intermediary supply chain partners – as evidenced by the fact that just eight per cent of original vacancies were posted directly by employers.  

 

 

Admin & Support Services

A sector with a 10 per cent YoY increase in vacancies, but with a need to post 15 per cent more original ads and six per cent more total ads in an attempt to fill them, clearly has recruitment challenges. With 35 per cent of original ads offering contingent only work (up from 31 per cent in February 2017), this appears to be part of the continuing challenge – notably at a time where interest in more permanency of work is rising in importance (due to a range of economic and political factors). 

 

 

Finance & Insurance

With the loss of some financial services jobs (due to Brexit uncertainty and corporate decision-making) remaining well documented, a 23 per cent YoY rise in the number of vacancies within Finance and Insurance remains somewhat surprising. One contributory factor may be that, with a high proportion of non-UK nationals working across the broad spectrum of roles within the industry, ongoing political and economic uncertainty is resulting in people leaving posts before being potentially asked to do so. Also of significance is the fact that, whilst job vacancies rose sharply, original jobs ads increased by a significantly lower proportion (3 per cent), suggesting that either job advertising is being more successful and/or employers and their intermediaries are deployed other initiatives than on-line advertising to fill vacant posts.



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