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Time taken to fill vacancies rose in April

Vacancies were down almost a fifth (-18.34%) on the year, compared with April 2023, Adzuna found

The amount of time employers took to fill roles rose from 35.6 days in March to 39 days on average in April 2024, the latest Job Market Report from hiring platform Adzuna showed.

The report, published today, also stated that the number of advertised vacancies fell 0.94% compared with the month before, down to 854,171.

Within the same timeframe, advertised salaries rose by 0.45% to £38,810; this s a 3.06% increase from the same time last year.

James Neave, head of data science at Adzuna, told HR magazine that while the time to fill roles increased in the last month, this signalled a return to normal time-to-fill expectations.

He said: “Over the last year we have seen a steady but slow increase in the time-to-fill for roles up to the current level of 39 days.

“I believe the reason for this is a reversion back to normality in terms of time-to-fill expectations, due to the steady drop in vacancies and increasing salary trend we see in our Adzuna data.”

Neave added that the typical duration for recruitment could be up to 50 days.

He continued: “With the exception of the Covid-19 pandemic period, we have observed a range of 40-50 days in our data from when we started recording it in 2016 through to 2022.

“That can therefore be considered the typical duration, although of course it varies significantly according to the type of role and how competitive the salary and other perks are.”

Read more: Decline in recruitment slows as candidate availability surges

This year's Spring Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD found that 37% of employers reported having hard-to-fill vacancies.

And the UK Report on Jobs published in April 2024 by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed that pay growth rates continued to grow in April for the 38th consecutive period.

Ben Keighley, founder of AI recruitment platform Socially Recruited, noted that the competitive labour market could explain why vacancies were hard to fill and advertised salaries rose.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Until interest rates begin to fall, which may not happen for some time, we are unlikely to see employers drastically change their hiring strategies.

“But we know that businesses in certain sectors are still on the hunt for candidates, and that finding the right talent isn’t proving easy. The market is still very competitive in certain areas.

Read more: “Sluggish” labour market could stunt long-term growth

“These pinch points are what support higher wage growth and make the Bank of England’s decision on when to cut rates a more difficult one.”

Keighley suggested employers should adjust their hiring strategy to attract different candidates.

He advised: “For employers struggling to fill roles, a more targeted approach to hiring may be the answer.  

“Consider identifying potential candidates who may not be actively seeking out new employment but could be lured by a tempting offer.”