This week’s ONS report shows that the number of job vacancies in September to November 2021 continued to rise to a new record of 1,219,000, an increase of 434,500 from the pre-coronavirus January to March 2020 level, with 13 of 18 industry sectors monitored showing record highs. However, over the quarter, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow down and the experimental single month estimates showed their first reduction in vacancy numbers since February 2021.

While this data hints at a slow-down in vacancies, suggestions that this could indicate that the peak of vacancies is over are perhaps a little premature. Data relating to temporary employees, for example, continued to rise by 10.4% during the same period which reflects the increase in workforce requirements in some peak driven sectors. However, there are other indicators which suggest, as Gi Group UK has previously recommended, that businesses are adapting their approaches to candidate attraction with a dramatic increase in part-time workers and the unemployment rate for 16-25 year olds continuing to fall. This shows that businesses are taking active measures to attract and retain the best candidates as the war for talent continues to rage on.

Turning to 2022, we know that the festive season is a time when people like to take stock, look ahead to the future and set new goals, particularly when it comes to changing jobs or taking on new challenges. Our advice to any business looking would be to ensure you are talking to existing employees around their careers and future aspirations whilst recognising that the candidate availability is likely to remain a challenge well into the New Year.

Likewise, ongoing efforts must be made by recruiting companies to engage alternative candidate pools in order to win the best talent as the labour shortage that has been plaguing UK businesses looks likely to stretch into 2022. By being proactive and enhancing your attraction and retention processes, you can ensure that you are not left wanting in the candidate driven market we find ourselves in.