Return to office driving job searches

Two new studies show pay and a desire for greater flexible working are driving an increase in jobseeking.

job search


The desire to work closer to or at home after the Covid lockdowns is partly fuelling greater jobseeking in key areas of the country, according to a survey by jobs site Adzuna.

Its analysis of the average number of views per job advert found that London had the highest level of jobseeker activity in the UK. Every job listing in London on the company’s site was viewed more than 64 times in April. There were more than half a million vacancies on offer across London and surrounding commutable areas, offering average advertised salaries of £45,515, Adzuna said, noting also that Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff had high rates of interest in advertised jobs, and there was growing interest within commuter towns, especially around the UK capital.

Adzuna says towns in London’s commuter belt are seeing particularly high jobseeker activity. Slough and Heathrow are experiencing the fourth highest jobseeker activity level which the search engine says is part of a trend of workers looking to work closer to where they live.

Overall, there were 1,298,581 advertised UK vacancies on offer in April 2022, 48% up from 876,063 a year ago. However, advertised UK salaries averaged £36,587 in April, 3% lower than a year ago (£37,898).

Paul Lewis of Adzuna said: “London is at the core of the Great Resignation in the UK, but our data reveals the trend is spreading out fast. In particular, jobs in commuter towns are seeing high interest levels driven by a renewed interest from Brits to spend more time at home. As offices have reopened and commutes have restarted, workers are looking for close-to-home options that will continue to give them the flexibility they got used to over the pandemic and various lockdowns, be that picking the kids up from school or simply working flexible hours. The return-to-office is a huge driver of the current high movement between jobs, and companies offering fully remote options, or even much publicised ‘work from anywhere’ policies, are stealing a march on the competition and coming out on top.”

Money concerns also fuelling job searches

Meanwhile, a PwC survey of about 2,000 UK workers and a further 50,000 from across the world shows that money concerns are also behind the search for new jobs. It finds that nearly 18% of British workers expect to switch to a new job in the coming year with 72% of these doing so to seek higher pay. More than a quarter, or 27%, plan to ask for more money next year. Those in the technology sector are most likely to ask for a rise and those in the public sector least likely. Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC UK, said: “Highly skilled workers are in hot demand and employers can’t be complacent. Employees will vote with their feet if their expectations on company culture, reward, flexibility and learning are not being largely met.”

Research by Loughborough University has found that the cost of basic goods and services needed by the average two-child household in the UK has risen by £400 a month. This equates to an annual rate of 13%, compared with the 9% rate of inflation identified in official statistics. Matt Padley, an associate director at Loughborough’s Centre for Research in Social Policy, said it was the largest increase in the cost of the minimum basket of goods and services since at least 2008, when the calculation was first made.

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