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Vacancies fall as employers rein in hiring

Job vacancy numbers plummeted last year as firms reacted to uncertainty in the economy. That’s according to the latest report from Broadbean Technology.

Vacancies fell by 27 per cent in the year 2023 compared to the previous year, from 1.3 million to 949,000. However, hiring figures are still above pre-pandemic levels of 826,000 with last year’s decline attributed to wider economic uncertainty.

The fall in vacancy numbers has impacted permanent more than temporary roles, however, many firms are still seeking resources in a market that continues to be impacted by skills shortages. The limited supply of talent in several sectors – combined with the rising costs of living – has meant that employers are increasing salaries, although budget constraints are beginning to counterbalance this growth.

‘After the pandemic, we saw many employers rush to expand their workforces which has skewed the data slightly, however, there is no doubt that many businesses are reacting to economic uncertainty by reducing their hiring activity. This is hardly surprising; everyone is feeling the pinch and all firms are adapting to higher interest rates and other external pressures,’ comments Alex Fourlis, Managing Director at Broadbean Technology.

‘However, there are green shoots on the horizon, and with an improving economic climate, we should see the market pick up once again, but those sectors with skills shortages will continue to face difficulties sourcing key experts. In the short term, employers also need to focus their attention on retaining the skills they currently have as we’re already beginning to see an uptick in people looking for new roles,’ concludes Fourlis.

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