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Cath Everett

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Rise in vacancies and recruitment activity point to recovery

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The number of vacancies posted online in February was the highest since December 2008 when the recession really kicked in, but the jobs market is not out of the woods yet.

These are the findings of the Employment Index compiled by online recruitment web site Monster UK. It noted that the amount of positions available last month grew by 12% compared with January, which experienced its usual seasonal slowdown. The figures were also up 6% on a year ago.

The continued acceleration in long-term growth trends suggested a continued improvement in underlying labour demand conditions, the report said. But Julian Acquari, the firm’s managing director, warned: “Despite the Index’s emergence from the low points of 2009, the job market remains challenging in this fragile economy.”

While the majority of industry sectors saw a rise in online recruitment activity between January and February this year, the fastest growing chunk of the market was IT, which grew 19% – or 8% if compared with year ago figures.

The number of education, training and library-related vacancies likewise increased by 18% over the last month, while the amount of marketing, PR and media jobs rose by 17%. By contrast, research and development and engineering were the hardest hit, with recruitment activity dropping by 26% and 24% respectively.

On a year by year basis, however, online recruitment for production, manufacturing, maintenance and repair positions grew at the healthiest rate (44%), followed by sales (30%) and arts, entertainment, sports and leisure-related jobs (21%).

As for the type of personnel that employers were looking for, demand for professionals jumped 15% in February compared with the previous month. This situation saw this category’s annual rate of decline drop from 14% in January to only 4% in February, but vacancy rates here still remain lower than for other groups.

Interest in clerical support staff increased for the seventh consecutive month, however, which meant that demand remained higher for this category of personnel than for any other.

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