The number of jobseekers per advertised job vacancy has reached a record post-recession low of 0.89, researchers claim.
According to the latest UK Job Market report from Adzuna – a search engine for job advertisements – the number of advertised job vacancies reached 949,778 in November 2014, the largest number of jobs since the recession and up 23.6% on November 2013.
Adzuna say there has been ten consecutive months in which competition for jobs has fallen and there are now more advertised vacancies than jobseekers.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said:
“The job market has seen significant revival over the past year. The most recent figures provide a solid base for optimism as we head into 2015.”
However, Mr Hunter urged caution, saying temporary jobs for the Christmas period may be partly responsible for a 1.4% increase in advertised vacancies between October to November 2014:
“This peak in advertised vacancies at the close of the year may owe as much to seasonal work as it does to the resurgent core of the jobs market”, he said.
He added: “Some uptick in advertised vacancies during the lead-up to the festive period was expected.”
Mr Hunter said the “cost of living crisis” was starting to ease, “leaving more people with more money in the New Year – injecting a feel-good factor into a traditionally glum time of year.”
This claim will be impossible to accept for the several thousands of jobseekers still struggling to find work and who may have been made redundant during the biggest recession in decades.
And the supposed economic recovery is yet to be felt by families struggling to pay bills, or forced to turn to food banks to feed themselves and their children.
There are also wide variations in the number of available jobs in different towns and cities across the UK. For example, there were 23.54 jobseeker’s for every job vacancy in Salford and 18.54 in the Wirral. This compares to just 0.17 in Cambridge and 0.20 in Guildford.
Research published by the TUC earlier this month (December) reveals that just one in every forty new jobs added to the economy between 2008 and 2014 has been a full-time employee job.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“While more people are in work there are still far too few full-time employee jobs for everyone who wants one.
“It means many working families are on substantially lower incomes as they can only find reduced hours jobs or low-paid self-employment.”
“The Chancellor has said he wants full employment, but that should mean full-time jobs for everyone who wants them. At the moment the economy is still not creating enough full-time employee jobs to meet demand.”
Analysis also shows a significant rise in the number of people trapped on controversial low-paid and insecure Zero Hours contracts. TUC says most workers on zero-hours contracts earn less than the living wage.
According to Adzuna, average advertised salaries grew to £34,549 in November 2014 – a 5.8% increase compared to £32,651 a year ago.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) – one measure used to calculate the cost of living – grew by just 1% in the year to November 2014. According to the research, this means that average annual salary increases continue to outpace CPI inflation and shows real wage growth.
Consumer service jobs saw the largest annual increase in average advertised salaries of 16.5% over the year to November to reach £21,353, say Adzuna.
Andrew Hunter said:
“The customer services sector has evolved in response to the changing landscape of business engagement.
Adding: “This increase in their average salary reflects companies’ desire to attract the best talent for this crucial sector.”
Average advertised salaries for jobs in Hospitality & Catering took the largest annual plunge to £24,148, which represents a decrease of 2.11% since November last year.
Andrew Hunter said:
“A decrease in average advertised salaries at the close of the year for Hospitality & Catering might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a regular seasonal occurrence.
“Many businesses take on extra seasonal staff for low-wage work in order to cope with the extra footfall during this time of year.”
Manufacturing jobs experienced a yearly salary increase to £30,678 in November, representing a 14.5% yearly increase. This increase was followed closely by a 10.4% annual salary boost in Trade & Construction, with an average advertised salary of £38,704.
Mr Hunter said companies in these sectors “are not simply offering higher salaries because they’re feeling flush with cash”, but because “they’re struggling to attract the talent they need to expand”.
“They need to fill the existing skills gap before we can expect other sectors to feel the benefits”, said Mr Hunter.
Scotland is the only region of the UK to experience a year-on-year salary decrease. With average advertised salaries growing by just 0.53% over 2014 it leaves Scotland trailing behind the rest of the UK. According to the research, this was caused by the ‘instability resulting from the referendum’.
At the same time, North East England (11.60%), Yorkshire and The Humber (10.76%) and North West England (8.78%) have jostled Wales (8.44%) out of the pole position it had been enjoying thanks to the Jobs Growth Wales initiative.
Average Northern salaries remain lower than in the South, but at the current rates of change this may not remain the case for long – expect the North to surge forward in 2015, say Adzuna.
Andrew Hunter said:
“A manufacturing boom has buoyed the Northern jobs market this year. The traditional home of manufacturing in the UK is seeing a new demand for highly-skilled labour, which is reflected in healthy annual wage growth.
> Really ? All I see in my local job searches are cleaning jobs at 16 hours/week or less, or zero hours hospitality-type jobs. Jobs at 30+ hours a week seem to be very rare.
“There is a more complicated picture for Scotland, another region where average salaries are tightly tied to a dominant job sector – waning salaries in Energy, Oil and Gas have been compounded across the region by recent political instability.
“However, advertised salaries still managed to grow on average in 2014. The margin of growth was undeniably lower than the increases enjoyed by the rest of the UK.
“Nevertheless, average growth despite the unique setbacks faced by the Scottish jobs market speaks volumes of the market’s resilience – there is every reason to hope Scottish salaries and employment will bounce back into the coming year.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 31 Dec 2014
It’s alledgedly getting easier to find a job – but it’s still tough if you’re in Sunderland, according to the latest figures.
A new study has found the number of job vacancies has increased by a fifth in the past year, and more than a third for graduates.
Upwards of 800,000 jobs were on offer last month, but while competition for work has fallen in some areas, jobs website Adzuna found there were still 30 people per entry-level vacancy in April.
Sunderland was listed among areas with the highest number of people chasing each job, together with Salford, the Wirral and Rochdale.
Advertised salaries grew by 1.2 per cent over the year, but increased by more than seven per cent in the science sector, it was reported.
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “There are far more job opportunities than 12 months ago, with graduates in particular benefiting as employers begin advertising for far more staff.
“Salaries are showing signs of improvement, which is helping improve household finances across the country, and the science sector is roaring back into life, contributing to both production and employment levels.
“An influx of self-employed and part-time roles has further bolstered employment numbers, leading to a healthy glow across much of the jobs market.
> As, if seems likely, a lot of those self-employed jobs turn out to be non-sustainable, then what ?
“The salary upturn comes not a moment too soon. Real wages have been falling consistently since the recession, but now they are beginning to claw their way back upwards, sped along by declining competition between jobseekers, which is encouraging employees to raise salary stakes to attract the best staff.”
> While there is still high unemployment, wages won’t really improve for the majority.
Source – Sunderland Echo, 28 May 2014
This article was written by Hilary Osborne, for The Guardian on Sunday 25th May 2014
In the first three months of this year, the charity helped 27,000 people who had fallen behind with council tax bills, a 17% increase on the same period of 2013, and one in five of those reporting debt problems had an arrears issue. The charity said the increase had come in the wake of the abolition of council tax benefit in April 2013, and its replacement with new support from local councils. Levels of help vary from council to council, and as of March this year, 244 out of 325 councils in England required all working-age households to make some contribution, regardless of income.
The first wave of changes drove up the number of council tax arrears cases Citizens Advice dealt with to the point that they overtook problems with credit cards and unsecured personal loans for the first time.
Of those contacting the charity about council tax arrears, 42% were employed and 28% unemployed. The rest were full-time carers, or similar.
Of those seeking help with debt generally, one in five had problems with an unsecured loan and the same proportion had a fuel debt issue. One in six had problems with a credit or store card and 5% were behind on a mortgage or secured loan.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Consumer debts like credit cards and personal loans have traditionally been the most common debt problems that come through our doors, but since the end of council tax benefit we’ve seen council tax arrears problems go through the roof.”
Guy said that for some households, council tax bills were the tipping point that plunged them into debt.
“Last year, more than 90,000 people came to Citizens Advice looking for help with council tax arrears as they struggle in the face of low incomes, rising prices and reduced financial support,”
“As their budgets shrink, local authorities are increasingly stretched, but they must ensure that the resources available for their local council tax support scheme are focused on those who are most in need.”
The areas with the largest proportion of clients with council tax arrears were all outside London, and include Salford near Manchester, Stoke on Trent, Rutland and Redcar & Cleveland.
Local authorities can instruct bailiffs to recover unpaid bills or apply to have payments deducted from wages.
Source – Welfare News Service, 26 May 2014
Shocking new figures show that the North is the anti-depressant capital of Britain.
The region takes up six of the top 10 places in England for use of the drugs, with poverty and deprivation being blamed for the widespread problems with people’s mental health.
NHS data shows doctors here prescribe more anti-depressants per head than anywhere else in the country, with more than one million prescriptions handed out in the last three months of last year.
In the former industrial heartland of East Durham there are 45 prescriptions for every 100 patients – the second highest rate in the country.
And six of the 10 most-prescribing areas are in the North East, including Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tees, Newcastle West, and North Durham.
Mental health charities said depression and anxiety were strongly tied to deprivation, with some laying the blame at the government’s door. Easington MP Grahame Morris, a member of the Commons Health Select Committee, said: “We’re fighting a rearguard action to protect our community.
“I see in my surgeries every week people displaying symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression as a consequence of the government’s policies.
“I had a gentleman come to see me on Friday who was 60-years-old, had worked from being 15, and he’d had to give it up due to a crumbling spine.
“He’d been put in a fit for work category when he couldn’t walk for 20 paces, and his benefits were suspended for eight months while the appeal is heard.
“There’s a definite link between the Government’s policies of austerity and welfare reform and the impact it’s having on people’s mental health.”
Doctors in Sunderland made 41.2 prescriptions for every 100 people in the area, while Gateshead gave out 40.7.
Other badly affected areas included Salford, St Helens, Barnsley and Blackpool – all former industrial areas. Richard Colwill, from the mental health charity SANE, said the figures should be treated “with caution” because they might be inflated by repeat patients for drugs which are used for a range of other conditions.
But he argued they “should be no surprise” because of the strong links between depression and “unemployment, debt and homelessness”.
He said: “SANE’s own experience suggests that it is not only the high demand for treatment that is concerning, but also the dwindling supply.
“The Government’s relentless agenda to cut expensive community and inpatient services often leaves healthcare professionals with little to offer other than medication.”
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said: “We know that reforms to the welfare system are taking their toll on the mental health of many people. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of background, but there are certain factors that can increase the risk of someone developing depression.
“Unemployment, financial difficulties, a problematic housing situation and physical health problems can all put stress on people, which in turn can lead to mental health problems.”
A spokeswoman for clinical commissioning groups in the North East said: “It’s well-known that poverty and mental health are linked, just as poor housing and mental health are linked.
“As the North East has some of the highest areas of deprivation in the country, it’s not surprising that there are higher numbers of people who need support for mental health issues.
“It’s important that people realise that while sometimes medication is required, there are alternatives for those with mild to moderate depression or anxiety.
“Talking therapies work very well and can act more quickly than perhaps antidepressants or other medical treatments.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities, with the Universal Credit making three million households better off.
“We have also expanded the ESA Support Group so greater numbers of people with a mental health condition now qualify for the benefit.
“We are transforming the lives of the poorest in society and bringing common sense back to the welfare system – so that we can continue to support people when they need it most right across Britain.”
> But then, they always say that… whatever the question was.
Source – Newcastle Evening chronicle 20 April 2014