Fewer jobs, but we may soon be needing more

There were 226,000 fewer jobs available in the three-month period from October – December last year than there were in the same period in 2022, according to ONS figures.

The unemployment rate was 3.8 per cent at the end of the last quarter, returning to the same level as October-December 2022. Despite this being low, zero-hour contracts are counted among employment rates even though they do not offer consistent employment.

However, separate research suggests that may be about to change as many more find compelling reasons for either wanting to change jobs or take on others.

The ONS figures were interrogated by side hustle specialists Wealth of Geeks which revealed the top sectors experiencing vacancy shortages as Transport and storage where they were down by 36.5 per cent, no surprise given that fuel costs have been rising and border crossings becoming more stringent.

Transport companies have had to reduce costs elsewhere to stay in business. From 2021, the industry has seen a decrease in businesses of 0.3 per cent, equating to 9,000 fewer businesses.

Information and communication ranked second, with a drop of 29 per cent. These industries generally require a higher level of education, but with more graduates in the field, there is more competition for these jobs and 2023 saw businesses in this sector decrease by 26,000.

Arts and entertainment came third with vacancies down by 27.7 per cent. Although the industry has seen an increase in businesses of 7,000, competition in the market is fierce, and many vacancies are part-time or seasonal.

These jobs are suitable for anyone, meaning there’s often high competition and high turnover as people grow in their roles

Fourth was financial and insurance, which saw a drop of 26.3 per cent in vacancies. This industry is another that requires a degree and higher education. Around 1,000 businesses have been lost each year since 2021, and due to a low turnover, job vacancies are scarce.

The Accommodation and food industry ranked fifth, with vacancies down by 23.9 per cent. Similar to arts and entertainment, most jobs are seasonal or part-time. This is due to the tight profit margins in these sectors, which are affected by food prices and transport despite an increase of 8,000 businesses registered.

Michael Dinich, spokesman for Wealth of Geeks, said: “Areas such as retail and general customer service make up the bulk of jobs available, but this is affected by the economy and education level of the population. These jobs are suitable for anyone, meaning there’s often high competition and high turnover as people grow in their roles. When it comes to more specialised jobs such as teachers or doctors, the entry requirements are much higher, and turnover is low due to those requirements.”

Another survey shed an interesting light on the job market by revealing a high level of contentment among the workforce, with nearly half of participants expressing that they’re “quite happy” in their current positions. However, this satisfaction doesn’t seem to deter the search for new opportunities with four in ten professionals planning to change their job this year.

Data from Tiger Recruitment, which surveyed 1,836 people, found the top three reasons as career advancement, aalary stagnation and the desire for flexible working, reflecting evolving expectations of work-life balance

Strikingly, half of the surveyed professionals aid they were either contemplating or have already taken on second jobs. This surge in secondary employment is largely attributed to the economic challenges posed by the increasing cost of living, indicating a proactive approach by individuals to meet financial needs.

The study further highlights that it is predominantly women aged 25 to 34, earning between £30-35k, who find themselves in the position of needing additional employment the most.


Demand for finance skills remains strong