The number of job vacancies advertised across the UK slid last month, even though demand for consultants has spiked following the Brexit vote, figures out today show.
According to research by jobs search engine Adzuna, total advertised vacancies slipped to 1,123,365 in August, down 2.7 per cent compared with July and down 2.3 per cent compared with the year before.
"Jobseekers looking to move into a new role are facing a slightly slimmer array of options," noted Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna. "Hiring has certainly not ground to a halt as many predicted after Brexit, however, with more than a million openings on the market. This is a seasonal suspension, not a long-term lull."
However, vacancies for consultants have risen by 10.1 per cent compared with the year before, as businesses scrabble to find additional help to guide them through what Brexit means for them. Meanwhile, average salaries for consultants are up 8.9 per cent for the same period.
"In an uncertain environment, companies are looking for highly skilled experts, without having to shoulder the burden of an expanding wage bill," explained Monro. "Consultants are also helping them demystify the business consequences of the vote."
Although August's jobseekers may not have been spoilt for choice by the positions on offer, they were at least in line for better pay, as salaries on offer improved by 0.3 per cent compared to July, the first time the figure has tipped up for five months. However, salaries were still down 1.6 per cent compared with the year before.
Meanwhile, Monro warned: "It's too early to sound a fanfare for the return of salary growth with wages still far below pre-recession levels, but jobseekers are seeing a modest salary boost. Inflation is expected to rise, so higher starting salaries will be critical to maintain real wages."
Adzuna also found there was an average of 0.49 jobseekers per vacancy in August, meaning competition for jobs had remained stable compared with the month before and fallen by 20.1 per cent compared with a year ago.
Those job hunting in London faced even less competition, as the there were only 0.34 jobseekers per vacancy last month.
According to Office for National Statistics figures, the UK employment market has remained fairly resilient following the Brexit vote. Data released earlier this month revealed the number of people in work rose to a record high during July.