Last updated: 09.07.15

More job vacancies than job seekers in many British cities

A lack of suitable candidates for certain roles is holding back job market recovery in several UK cities, with many firms struggling as a result.

Data compiled by Adzuna suggests that there are more vacancies than job seekers in 32 of the top 50 UK cities, with a significant proportion of UK workers not having the skills to fill the positions required in the modern workforce.

Although the number of job seekers is the lowest since the recession - standing at 795,967 after being 1,142,340 a year ago - the number of advertised vacancies in the UK is a record 1,033,435.

This is a 25.6% year-on-year increase on the 823,081 vacancies advertised in the same month last year, meaning there are now just 0.77 job seekers per advertised vacancy - almost half of the 1.39 recorded at the same time last year.

Certain industries are particularly flush with vacancies, with the maintenance sector seeing a 38% increase in advertised roles over the past 12 months, while the 28% increase in trade and construction positions translates to more than 11,000 extra vacancies compared to a year ago.

However, Adzuna co-founder Andrew Hunter said the figures could be a warning sign that the country's workforce lacks the skills necessary to fill the new gaps appearing.

"The recovery certainly has the capacity to progress further and faster - but at the moment there’s a disconnect between our abilities and our economic climate," he explained.

"This change could be led by the government, but part of it is a culture-shift. We have the recovery we deserve - now we need to build a workforce capable of taking advantage of it."

It appears that the skills shortage is not restricted to certain pockets of the UK or areas with traditionally low competition - Salford has moved from having 30.42 job seekers per vacancy last year to just 2.19 job seekers per available position now, making it almost fourteen times easier to find a job in the city than 12 months ago.

Other areas such as Bradford and Sunderland have experienced similar resurgences, but Mr Hunter said the concentration of jobs in the north suggests "a deep-rooted skills shortage", which can only be fixed through a commitment to investing in the future of the jobs market.

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