Job vacancies hit record high in UK amid Brexit and Covid staff shortages

12 October 2021, 11:33 | Updated: 12 October 2021, 15:03

The Chancellor heralded the economic figures
The Chancellor heralded the economic figures. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Job vacancies soared to a record high of almost 1.2 million in September, however encouraging figures showed the number of British workers on company payrolls rose above pre-pandemic levels.

New numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal there is now a record 29.2 million staff on payrolls, up by 122,000 on February 2020.

The number shot up by 207,000 between August and September.

Meanwhile, there was a record leap in job vacancies, up by almost 1.2 million in September.

The rate of unemployment fell to 4.5% between June and August, the ONS added.

Meanwhile, wages saw a steep rise, with average weekly earnings going up 7.2% with bonuses, or 6% without bonuses, in the three months to August.

However, the ONS said those figures could be skewed, with lower paid jobs having been hit hardest by the pandemic.

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Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: "The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus, with the number of employees on payroll in September now well exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

"Vacancies also reached a new one-month record in September, at nearly 1.2 million, with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid-19."

However, the ONS said there is an increasing recruitment crisis, with some sectors struggling to fill roles. Vacancies are 318,000 above levels pre-Covid.

The hospitality sector has struggled the most. Nearly a third of respondents (30%) said it has been harder than usual to recruit, according to ONS analysis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "As we move to the next stage of our support, it's encouraging to see our Plan for Jobs working - the number of expected redundancies remained very low in September, there are more employees on payrolls than ever before and the unemployment rate has fallen for eight months in a row."

Unemployment fell by 126,000 in the quarter to August, to 1.5 million. Employment rose 235,000 to 32.4 million.