Thousands of job vacancies left unfilled as skills shortage bites

The number of unfilled job vacancies rose by 16,000 in the three months to January, says the Office for National Statistics.

 

Employers are facing an increasing skills shortages as new figures show the number of unfilled vacancies rose by 16,000 in the three months to January.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics show the level of employment in the UK is at a record high, unemployment rate remains very low  –  at 4% – and the inactivity rate has been falling in the economy.

Unfilled vacancies

In the three months to January 2019, unfilled vacancies increased by 16,000 to 870,000.

Most of the vacancies were in the services sector (88.2%) where the wholesale, retail trade and repair of motor vehicles sector had 140,000 vacancies, and the human health and social work activities sector had 131,000 vacancies.

The ONS says the existence of many unfilled vacancies indicates that employers may be facing challenges recruiting workers. It says: “The shortage of workers is felt across the whole occupations spectrum: employers in the construction sector have reported facing challenges recruiting skilled trades workers. Those in the human health and social work activities sector have also reported facing significant challenges in recruiting social care workers.”

The ONS figures also show that total average weekly earnings increased by 3.4% on the year to December 2018 to reach £527 and regular average weekly earnings increased by 3.4% on the year to reach £495. Private sector regular average weekly earnings were 92.1% of public sector regular average weekly earnings in December 2018.



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