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Wages surge as job vacancies hit record high


Hospitality firms are struggling to fill vacancies

Job vacancies have hit a record quarterly high of 1,102,000, an increase of 318,000 from the quarter before the pandemic struck.

It was the second time that the three-month average has risen over one million, according to official UK labour market statistics.

September vacancies were almost 1.2 million, which is a record monthly high.

In the period July to September all industry sectors were above or equal to their January to March 2020 pre-pandemic levels, with accommodation and food service activities increasing the most, by nearly 50,000 (59%).

The UK unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 4.5%.

Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.2% and regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 6% among employees for the three months June to August 2021.

British Chambers of Commerce policy director James Martin said: “These recruitment difficulties are likely to dampen the recovery by limiting firms’ abilities to fulfil orders and meet customer demand. Business investment will then suffer, curbing any chance of a prolonged recovery.  

“Expanding the Shortage Occupation List will help businesses access the skills they need when they can’t recruit locally in the shorter term, supporting them to create a truly high-wage and high-productivity economy in the longer-term.”  

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “The main labour market measures moved favourably despite 1.1 million workers coming off furlough over the summer, which demonstrates the strength of demand for workers.

“Meanwhile, vacancies reaching a record high of nearly 1.2 million in September suggests that any jobs shakeout following the end of the furlough scheme on 30 September should be modest.”

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at the global job site Indeed, said: “Even though the Government support for employers was only withdrawn completely at the end of September, its gradual tapering over preceding months did not produce the surge in unemployment that many had feared.


“In fact unemployment continued to nudge downwards as the economy generated new jobs at a furious rate.

“With an additional 207,000 people in work in September compared to August, the total number of people on employer payrolls swelled to a record 29.2 million.

“In several sectors, near-frenzied competition for staff is forcing employers to raise wages sharply.

“The average salary for driving jobs advertised on Indeed has soared by 8.5% since the start of 2021, outpacing construction – at 8% – as the sector with the fastest growing wages.”

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