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16 November 2021

How UK job vacancies have reached a record high

The number of job vacancies has reached 1.2 million due to post-Brexit labour shortages and the post-Covid reopening.

By Michael Goodier

The UK jobs market is booming, recording the highest ever number of vacancies due to a combination of post-Brexit labour shortages and the reopening of the economy following the end of Covid-19 restrictions.

The number of job vacancies rose to a record 1,172,000 in August to October 2021, figures from the Office for National Statistics show. But the latest numbers also show unemployment falling back to pre-Covid levels. There were only 1.3 unemployed people per vacancy in July-September: another record low, meaning the jobs market is at its tightest in decades.


The construction industry saw the largest growth rate in vacancies compared with the last quarter (41.1 per cent) followed by transport and storage (40.4 per cent).

However, it is the UK’s social care industry that has the highest vacancy figures, with more than 183,000 vacancies – up from 175,000 in the previous quarter. There were 151,000 vacancies in hospitality, with two in five accommodation and food businesses reporting staff shortages. Separate figures show that 41 per cent of businesses with more than ten employees reported jobs were more difficult to fill compared to normal for this time of year – especially in hospitality, transport and storage, and manufacturing. 

The major reasons cited were a lack of qualified applicants, inability to afford an attractive pay package, and a reduced number of EU applicants.

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