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London lags rest of Britain in UK jobs boom

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: A general view outside a Jobcentre Plus employment office on December 07, 2020 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.   (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
There were 1,034,000 vacancies in the UK between June and August. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

London lagged behind the rest of the UK in the job vacancy boom that saw openings head higher than 1 million from June to August.

According to new figures released by the ONS, by 10 September 2021, the number of online job adverts in the UK was 28% higher than in February 2020, but only 12% higher in London.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that there were 1,034,000 vacancies in the UK between June and August, a record high as the UK economy opens up following prolonged pandemic shutdowns.

This comes alongside data showing that 13% of all business have said it is harder to fill vacancies than usual (up from 9% in August).

The ONS said most common reasons were a lack of applicants with the right skills (67%), fewer EU applicants following Brexit (25%) and the roles not being paid enough (15%).

The data also showed recruitment has been hardest among hospitality businesses, where 30% are finding it harder to recruit, followed by the water industry (27%) and health (23%).

Data has also backed up reports of supply chain crisis, with 15% of transport and storage businesses struggling to recruit. Half of these say fewer EU applicants is a factor (46%).

The positive figures in the jobs market were also counteracted by the impending end of the furlough scheme, which could see many workers drop off payrolls.

"Among the available talent pool, some firms struggle with the fact that the pay isn’t good enough to attract staff. This is a particular problem for professional, scientific and technical roles. It’s also something regularly faced by businesses paying minimum wage for difficult work – such as care," said Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown.

"We’ve already seen this theme emerge in company reports, where businesses ranging from hospitality to computer games development have raised concerns about recruiting difficulties. In some cases, this means businesses are struggling to operate effectively, which in turn is putting the brakes on GDP."

Read more: How to deal with anxiety when starting a new job

Alarm bells have been sounding increasingly loudly in recent weeks in the UK labour market as a shortage of HGV drivers has meant shops and restaurant chains have run out of key products.

There has also been concern in the services sector with the "pingdemic" meaning many workers had to self-isolate, causing shortages.

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