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UK job Market Recovers, but North-South Divide Persists

UK job market

Although the UK labour market has seen a rapid recovery during the second half of 2013, the number of vacancies was unevenly spread across the country. Jobs website Adzuna.co.uk reports that people in the North are finding it increasingly hard to find work compared to their counterparts in the South.

There were 768,289 advertised job vacancies in November, compared to 676,878 in November 2012. This was a 13.5% annual increase and a 2.6% monthly increase. The number of advertised vacancies has now increased in five of the last six months, with 11.9% more vacancies in November than six months previously.

Interestingly, the competition for jobs has eased. In November, there were just 1.59 jobseekers per vacancy around the UK, down from 2.36 in January 2013. This was a decrease of a third (33%) since the beginning of the year and a 6% monthly fall. 

Is the UK job Market a Tale of Two Halves?

Despite improvement of the UK job market conditions during the last six months, researchers found the North-South jobs divide was growing as nine of the 10 best places to find work were in the South, while eight of the worst were in the North. As a result, Jobseekers in Cambridge find it 200 times easier to find work than those in Salford, where about 65 people chase each vacancy.

Across 2013 as a whole, Cambridge and Aberdeen were the best cities in the UK to find a job, with just 0.31 jobseekers per vacancy. In the best 10 cities ranking, new entrants to the 2013 list included Winchester (6) and Exeter (7). Crawley and Bristol both featured in the best 10 cities to find a job in October, but have slipped off the top 10 in 2013 list. Cambridge, Aberdeen, Guildford, Reading and Oxford continue to dominate, featuring as the top 5 cities to get a job on both the October and 2013 lists.

Glasgow, Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham slipped off the worst 10 cities to find a job from the October ranking, while Rochdale (2), Southend-on-Sea (7), and Plymouth (10) joined the worst 10 list. Salford, Hull, Sunderland and the Wirral were among the worst 5 cities on both lists.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job website Adzuna, stated that “Cities such as Aberdeen and Cambridge are breaking away from the rest of the UK, with widespread job creation as a result of thriving energy and technology industries in those areas”. He also added that “of the worst affected cities, Hull has a great opportunity in being named as the next UK City of Culture, and has the potential to reap significant social and economic benefits as a result”.

Concerns that the recovery is restricted to hotspots was heightened by a report that predicted further falls in public sector employment, badly affecting deprived areas.

The report by analysts at the JobsEconomist predicted that private sector employment (including self-employment) will grow by 450,000 in 2014. The rise in private sector hiring will more than offset a predicted fall in public sector employment of 130,000.

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