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Job vacancies back to pre-lockdown levels, study suggests

The number of job adverts has increased to levels not seen since before the first national lockdown, but fears about a shortage of skilled workers have risen, according to a new report.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said there were 1.63 million jobs on offer across the UK in the first week of June, around the same level as in March 2020.

Recent weeks have also seen record numbers of new job adverts being posted online, its study found.

REC said there were increasing worries from employers about a shortage of candidates for jobs, as the strong hiring trend continues, in spite of concerns about the Delta variant of Covid-19, which was originally identified in India.

Chief executive Neil Carberry said: “Data for the past month shows hiring in the UK recovering to normal levels, though there remain some differences between sectors and local areas.

“As pandemic restrictions have lifted, we have seen an explosion in job vacancies as companies rush to hire ahead of reopening.

“The jobs market is more active than we have seen in 18 months.

“Employers do have some concerns about the rise in Covid cases, and we’ll have to wait to see whether that delays the final stage of reopening, but by far their biggest worry right now is the shortage of candidates for jobs.

“The pandemic has made existing skill and labour shortages in the UK worse. Governments and business need to work together to ensure access to training opportunities and unemployment support so that there are pathways for everyone into growing sectors.”

Employment Minister Mims Davies said: “Record numbers of job ads in recent weeks shows the economy is really getting back on its feet, and through our national network of DWP Jobcentres we are helping match people to new roles, including supporting jobseekers to add on new skills to be ready for what’s on offer.

“In particular, we are working closely with the hospitality and agriculture sectors to help employers fill their vacancies, and it’s this targeted and local approach that will help us push to build back better.”