Thursday, 13 August 2009

Job vacancies update - 13-Aug-2009

Good day and welcome to your regular amateur analysis of the UK's job vacancies scene from ground-breaking attack blog illandancient.
Total vacancies in the UK
Down 2.36% from last week
Down 4.17% from last month
Down 11.68% from last quarter
Here's a graph showing how many job vacancies are listed on and the Job Centre Plus. I'm using a rolling seven day average to smooth out weekends where no new jobs are posted.

and here's a graph showing the number of jobs listed on The Guardian's Jobs pages and GumTree's London pages.

We can clearly see that all the agencies are showing steady declines except for the Job Centre Plus. Why oh why? Well, it comes down to money, whilst Gumtree, Guardian Jobs and Reed are out in the real world, struggling through the recession, trying their hardest to round up and advertise job vacancies as best the can to stay in business, Job Centre Plus is getting extra funding from the government, they have increasing time and resources to find jobs to list, 9,000 new staff recruited. Its not so much a sign from the Job Centre Plus that there are an increasing number of jobs out there in the UK, just that they are getting better at listing them.

Its still kind of odd also that the Job Centre Plus has a dip at the start of every month and the other agencies don't.

Having said that, the number of jobs listed at Gumtree London, isn't very representative of the whole of the UK. Whilst London jobs are declining, over the same period jobs in the Midlands have been increasing. I'm going to have to start tracking the total number of jobs listed on Gumtree across the UK, adding up all the regional numbers. It currently stands at around 165,000 jobs, up from 163,000 a week ago.

The other day the ONS announced the latest unemployment figures and in amongst the coverage on the BBC was the stats that in the three months to March the government reckons there were 464,000 vacancies and in the three months to June there were only 429,000. So if I feed those numbers into my great spreadsheet, I can churn out this wonderful graph.

So basing my graph on the average daily changes in each job agency gives me an error of less than 1%. Its nice to be validated like that.

If that graph is too prickly for you, here's one with just monthly averages.

It looks like August is a bit crap for job vacancies. Maybe the government are right, and giving the Job Centre more money and resources is a good way to help in the recession, but its not actually creating more jobs, the only thing which will do that is slackening the pressure on employers, to make it easier for them to employ people.
  • Lower the minimum wage - I'm unemployed and willing to work for less money
  • Cut employer National Insurance Contributions - its a ponzi-scheme anyway the sums will never add up
  • Slacken planning permission rules - it should unlock the construction industry just a wee bit
  • Revoke IR35 - it penalises contractors and small companies
Another thing to consider is that as the number of unemployed people grows and the number of vacancies shrinks, there's more competition for jobs. The level of competition as increased by 50% since January, see:-

So now selecting a suitable candidate from the heap of CVs is just a bit more time consuming for HR departments even if an employer is taking on more staff. That graph's just assuming people only apply for one job. In real life I hear anecdotes about McDonalds getting 10,000 applicants for 100 positions or Toys R Us getting 3,000 applicants for 40 positions. How on earth are HR supposed to deal with an order o magnitude more CVs on the pile? Its not even a wealth creating role in the company, but its drawing in ever more resources.

Moving on, lets look at some pretty barcharts showing the decline of vacancies in some sectors during the recession.

For people who tell me to become a teacher, yeah, we're crying out for teachers...

But not crying out for teachers as much as six months ago.

Engineers, yeah, the UK needs more engineering graduates...

Again, not quite as desperate for them as we were six months ago, likewise for any kind of graduate job...

'Shitting dead rats' would be an apt description of the graduate job scene. Not so bad if you're in accountancy mind...

Still, 50% fewer jobs than in February.

Anyhoo, me, I've got an another interview this afternoon, for a minimum wage job in a food factory. I have 13 GCSEs, 4 A-Levels, a degree in Manufacturing, a long career in high-tech electronics, really computer literate and an IQ of 140.

Must try harder.


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