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Job market reaches 12-month high

Total vacancies in November represented a 1.3% increase compared with figures six months ago

The total number of advertised vacancies reached a 12-month high in November, according to the UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

The total vacancies (1,165,052) in November represented a 1.3% increase compared to six months ago (1,150,149 in May). This was the largest number of advertised openings since the 1,244,772 posted in November 2015.

However, advertised salaries post-Brexit are lower now than they were during the run up to the referendum. Average salaries fell to £32,221 in November, despite having exceeded £33,000 in the months before the vote.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, said employers are looking ahead to what 2017 might bring. “The jobs market has fared well in the main this year [2016], given the unexpected events within the political climate,” he said. “However, it may be too early to brand the jobs market a complete success given salary stagnation and the unpredictability that may lie ahead.

“2017 will certainly bring new prospects and challenges for the jobs market and the sooner Brexit plans are confirmed the sooner businesses and individuals will be able to plan for the future with more certainty.”

However, the CIPD has predicted a fairly bleak outlook for the UK labour market in 2017. It anticipates a modest increase in unemployment with fewer new jobs being created throughout the year, possibly as few as 100,000.

Additional data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) found that permanent vacancies across the IT and engineering industries both declined by 5% in November 2016.

The researchers found that demand for professional contractors reduced by 5% across the board year-on-year. Engineering was the only sector with modest growth, with vacancies increasing by 1%. Demand for IT and finance contractors recorded the sharpest drops, with vacancy numbers falling by 13% and 7% respectively.

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, suggested employers were “taking a breather” to adjust to external changes.

“As the starting date for negotiations over leaving the EU approaches it seems that employers are taking a slightly more cautious approach to hiring,” she said. “However, while permanent vacancies remain largely resilient demand for contractors has dipped.

“As is often the way in times of uncertainty, the run up to the referendum and immediately after employers turned to a contingent workforce to keep the wheels in motion. Now hiring managers are adjusting to the new landscape and taking a breather so that they can plan workforces strategically moving forwards.”