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Current Labour Market Conditions - February 2022 Update

As we near the end of the first quarter of 2022 we can take a look at data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) research and Labour Market Tracker and what it means for employers.

According to the latest insights we’re still hitting records, as comparisons of vacancies between Dec 2021 – Feb 2022 and pre-pandemic Jan-Mar 2020, are over 500,000 higher now. Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, saw the largest quarterly increase at 16,800. In the middle of February though, the percentage change in job postings for certain occupations grew most significantly for fitness instructors, as there was a 23.6% increase on the weeks before. Secondly, hairdressers and barbers at 16.3% and then bar staff at 13.5%. Looking at a broader scope, in Dec 2021 – Feb 2022, out of 18 industry groups, 13 show increased vacancy numbers compared to the previous quarter.

A rise in vacancies is accompanied by a rise in business confidence in the UK economy, which, although still in the negative, is positive to see “despite the persistent threat of rising inflation and labour shortages.” The REC believe this is down to the recession of the Omicron variant and the optimism following that.

Hiring activity has also increased, according to the February Report on Jobs survey. Noticeably however, it’s a soft increase, as both permanent and temp appointments growth slowed down for the first time in 11 months. REC members taking part in the report stated this was due to candidate shortages affecting the successful filling of roles. 

What does this mean for you? It’s important to keep hiring (of course we’d say that we’re a recruitment agency!) but as we can see, it is positive to see a rise in vacancies, hiring activity and employer confidence. Addressing the shortage of candidates is a high priority for us and we’re working with our clients to support and guide them so they can continue to hire and grow as they have planned to. If you’d like to hear our responses to related questions read our recent Q&A.