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Winter is Coming’ – UK Job Vacancies and Wages Fall Again


The number of advertised vacancies in the UK has taken a tumble in recent months, with the latest data showing a fall of 1.4% month-on-month. This volume is still above its April 2018 slump, but represents a 3.1% decline year on year and a definite ‘cooling off’ of the job market as we near the end of the year.

More worryingly, advertised salaries are on their fifth consecutive month of negative growth. While the longer term trend is still positive these developments threaten to derail the wage recovery the UK economy experienced in the first half of 2018.

Despite the fall in vacancies, the competition for these vacancies is at an all time low. It has fallen to a new low since Adzuna started measuring this in 2012, standing at 0.34 jobseekers per vacancy nationwide. This translates to there being approximately 3 jobs per jobseeker. While it’s clear that record levels of unemployment are keeping the job market propped up, Adzuna’s search data also shows a 12% year on year drop in the number of applications for British jobs from France, Germany, Italy & Spain.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explains:

“It’s worrying to see salaries declining once again, just as real wages were looking like recovering back towards where they were in 2012. Given the competition for jobs is at an all time low, we’d expect salaries to rise as companies compete for the remaining top talent. That said, I am buoyed by the fact that over 180,000 British workers will see a bump in their pay from this month, as the ‘real living wage’ rises to £9 per hour across the country.

“Brexit is clearly having an impact on the health of the U.K job market. Adzuna’s data clearly shows vacancies and wages feeling the pressure, and interestingly, migration patterns for jobs look to be changing as application rates for British jobs drop from workers on the continent.”

Table 1: Total advertised vacancies and salaries

September 2018 August 2018 Monthly


Annual change from July 2017
UK Vacancies 1,121,754 1,137,904 -1.4% -3.1%
Jobseekers per Vacancy 0.34 0.36 -5.5% -11.1%
Av. Advertised UK Salary £33,415 £33,470 -0.3% +4.7%

Regional breakdown

Swindon is the undisputed leader as the easiest place to find a job. The top 10 cities have seen very little change since the summer, with Oxford, Cambridge, Reading and Warrington making up the rest of the top 5.

Meanwhile Sunderland is still the hardest place to find a job in the UK, although the rate of jobseekers to vacancies has dropped below 3, meaning that it is becoming easier to find work overall. Elsewhere, Sheffield has dropped into the bottom 10 for the first time.

Table 2: Best-performing job sectors in the UK – annual salaries

Job sector Average salary Salary %
12 Month Change
Total vacancies
Teaching Jobs £31,185 16.5% 70,652
Admin Jobs £28,129 11.0% 45,724
Creative & Design Jobs £34,862 8.6% 8,887
Travel Jobs £27,794 6.8% 2,830
Legal Jobs £42,168 5.6% 25,861

Table 3: Worst-performing job sectors in the UK – annual salaries

Job sector Average salary Salary %
12 Month Change
Total vacancies
Domestic & Cleaning Jobs £16,778 -12.8% 13,114
Graduate Jobs £21,177 -6.9% 8,778
Scientific & QA Jobs £38,113 -5.8% 14,804
Logistics & Warehouse Jobs £23,663 -1.9% 49,071
Maintenance Jobs £29,661 -0.7% 1,805

It pays to teach

Teaching jobs are experiencing a boost in advertised salaries, up 16.5% year on year, and is currently the fastest growing job sector for salaries. There has also been a small increase in the number of vacancies being advertised, which may point to a struggle to hire and retain teaching staff nationwide.

Cleaners sweeping up the scraps

At the other end of the scale, Domestic Help and Cleaning jobs are falling significantly from an already low base, meaning that cleaners are really feeling the pinch. Also among the sectors that are struggling are Scientific & QA jobs, which has seen a nearly 6% decline in salaries over the past 12 months.


With over 15 years experience within the Recruitment industry, Mark considers digital publishing, digital engagement, recruitment marketing and advertising (all media), digital video production, creative design and more recently social media development as his core knowledge and where a lot of his experience lays.

Having been at the forefront of the digital publishing sector for well over a decade, Mark has founded numerous job boards and publishing businesses.

He has very strong business ethics, built on transparency and trust and equally as important, he enjoys close working relationships with all clients. A self-confessed digital geek Mark lives and breathes online media ensuring Recruitment Buzz stays ahead of the curve.


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