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Job market volatile as employers wait for November budget

The number of job adverts in the UK is fluctuating heavily as companies scramble to fill vacancies toward the end of the year.

Research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed there were 154,000 new job postings between 17 - 23 October 2022, which was a 3.4% decrease on the previous month.

The week before (10 - 17 October) there were 217,000 new job listings, showing the volatility of the market during autumn though demand among employers remains high.

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Noelle Murphy, senior HR insights manager at XpertHR, said the uncertainty around UK economy is leading employers to be more cautious with recruiting.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "The current economic volatility, with interest rates rising and employers still awaiting the much-needed clarity from the budget statement on 17 November, means employers will be taking a more cautious approach to recruitment – certainly when it comes to filling newly-created roles. This will only be exacerbated by the cost of living crisis which puts pressure on employers to come up with meaningful pay increases for current employees.

"However, employers will not be in a position to maintain or grow business levels without the appropriate staffing levels which will affect the business in two ways, not only impacting service delivery or productivity due to being understaffed, but also existing employees will become disengaged. This, in turn, can impact on productivity and retention levels if disengagement levels lead them to exit the organisation."

The hospitality sector has seen a fall in demand for workers as job listings for bar staff (-16.4%) and waiters and waitresses (-12.8%) dropped significantly since mid-August.

Conversely, childminders (+3.3%), school secretaries (+1.9%), and dental practitioners (+1.3%) have experienced notable increases.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said the need to hire will ultimately outweigh any fears businesses may have about hiring in the current climate.

He said: “There are some signs of greater volatility driven by economic and political uncertainty. But these cyclical trends are being offset by a substantial labour shortage that means firms still need to hire, even when growth has slowed.

"On 17 November, the chancellor has a chance to set out plans for growth which underpin investment by businesses in improving productivity, from skills to employment support to technology.

"This should include reforming the failed apprenticeship levy to deliver skills where they are needed, better thinking on transport and childcare to support people returning to work, and an immigration system that flexes to meet our economy’s needs."