Unemployment falls: who’s still hiring?

The latest ONS data shows unemployment has fallen once again. Katie Royals takes a look at what the new figures mean for job seekers.

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The rate of unemployment has fallen again. As more people find jobs, it can be daunting if you’re still looking for work. You may well be wondering whether anyone is still hiring. If this is the case, don’t despair. Here are some places you might find a job.


What’s the latest unemployment data?

According to the Office for National Statistics, the headline unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% in the three months to September, from 4.5% in August. And in October, a total of 29.3 million were in work – a rise of 160,000 from September. 

These latest figures are more positive than the Bank of England – and many economists – expected. Despite the furlough scheme coming to an end, levels of unemployment have continued to fall.

However, it is worth noting the unemployment levels are still higher than they were before the pandemic.

This means that fewer people are in work than before the Covid-related restrictions began. However, the difference is decreasing month on month. If this trend continues, more people will be in work than before the pandemic in a matter of months.

Does the unemployment data mean there are no jobs available?

No, the unemployment data does not mean this at all. There are still plenty of jobs available. So, if you’re currently unemployed, don’t despair. Despite unemployment falling, the number of job vacancies has actually increased, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for those still looking for work.

The number of job vacancies now stands at a new record of 1.17 million. This is 388,000 more than before the pandemic. Many employers are increasing salaries to attract employees and offering more generous packages than they previously were. It’s beginning to look like a job seekers’ market.

But, this is more true in some sectors than others.


Which sectors are hiring?

Some sectors are facing more significant labour shortages than others. The health sector currently has the most recorded vacancies. It has been stretched hugely during the pandemic and now faces 183,000 job vacancies.

Don’t worry – you don’t need a medical degree to fill one of these job vacancies! There are plenty of care jobs and administration roles on offer that don’t require huge amounts of training. These could offer good opportunities for those currently facing unemployment. 

Having been particularly hard hit by Covid-19-related restrictions, the hospitality sector had over 150,000 job vacancies between July and September. Many restaurants and bars have reduced their opening hours, while some hotels have closed off parts of their buildings due to staff shortages. If you can pull a pint or work a reception desk, you’ll likely get snapped up very quickly.

Science, retail and manufacturing are the three sectors with high numbers of job vacancies. If you’re currently unemployed, these sectors could be good starting points for your job search.

If you’re unemployed, how should you look for work?

When facing unemployment, it can be tempting to apply for every job you see advertised.

However, it can be better to be strategic and target certain sectors. This is particularly true at the moment, where certain industries have shortages and are actively looking for more workers.

The shortage occupation list, which is used to offer work visas to people moving to the UK, shows where workers are needed. It includes fields like engineering, web programming and graphic design.

How can you find job vacancies?

The majority of companies hiring will list any job vacancies on their own websites or on recruitment sites.

It may be helpful to sign up with a recruitment agency when facing unemployment. Agencies can help support you on your job-seeking journey. You could try a general agency or an industry-specific one if you know which field you want to work in.

Some job seekers find it helpful to build their professional networks too. Utilising LinkedIn or even Facebook groups can help you find a job. Keep an eye out for both virtual and in-person networking events and job fairs. These can offer a great source of leads for potential jobs.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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