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Advertised vacancies fall amid Brexit uncertainty

A total of 1,079,711 job vacancies were advertised in the UK in January, down 85,000 from December

January saw the number of advertised vacancies fall 7.3%, declining for the second consecutive month, according to job site Adzuna.

A total of 1,079,711 job vacancies were advertised in the UK in January, down 85,000 from December 2015 in the largest monthly drop since 2012. Advertised job vacancies have now fallen 13.7% since November, when 165,000 more jobs were on the market. Job competition intensified in January, rising to 0.61 applicants per vacancy, up 13% from 0.54 in December.

Both the retail and manufacturing sectors saw large vacancy falls in the wake of job losses in January. Current vacancies in the manufacturing sector stand at 14,022, down 9% from 15,466 roles last month. Similarly, the retail sector saw vacant positions fall 13% to 32,143, from 36,881 in December.

However, advertised salaries rose 0.8% month-on-month in January, increasing for the third consecutive month in a reversal of an eight-month trend of decreasing advertised pay.

Wales and Northern Ireland saw the largest monthly salary rises, with Wales’ average advertised salary rising 1.4% to stand at £29,682 in January, up from £29,286 the previous month. Similarly, Northern Ireland saw advertised salaries increase 2.2% to reach £29,745, from £29,092 in December. Despite having the highest advertised salary of all regions at £40,192, London saw the second largest annual fall of 4.3%, just behind Scotland, which saw a 5.2% decline to £31,536. North East England slipped to third place with a 3.7% decrease in average advertised salary.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, suggested that uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future in the EU could be causing unrest. “A potential Brexit brings new unknowns into the jobs market,” he said. “Politicians are at risk of fuelling uncertainty fears and only increasing doubts. By doing so they’re risking a weaker jobs market. It’s a dangerous game to play – thousands of employers and employees are already on edge. This lack of consensus is causing understandable concern for many companies.

“Business expansions and hiring sprees are being put on hold as a result. EU languages are still in high demand throughout the UK and whichever road the referendum takes us down, this is sure to remain so.”