Workers in low paying occupations are in high demand post-pandemic with vacancies up by a fifth according to a new study.
While recent ONS data showed that worker vacancies surged to a record 1m in August the IFS has revealed that demand is patchy across the jobs market.
Vacancies in the lowest-paying third of occupations were 19 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in June 2021, with the exodus of some 500,000 EU workers creating chronic shortages in male dominated professions such as road transport drivers.
Xiaowei Xu, a Senior Research Economist at IFS and an author of the report, said, “while prominent stories about rising vacancies and labour shortages in certain areas are real, we should not be misled into thinking that worker power is back.”
“The surge in aggregate vacancies in recent months has been driven by a small set of relatively modestly-paid occupations. For people in many lines of work, new job opportunities remain well below their pre-pandemic level,” Xu added.
Brexit is propelling a labour squeeze which has pushed job openings for transport drivers up by 68 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels while demand for storage workers has jumped by 21 per cent. The shortage could drive up wages in male dominated professions, with men found to have greater access to well paid job opportunities than women post pandemic.
Meanwhile, opportunities for those with degrees were still eight per cent below pre-pandemic levels, reflecting a slower recovery is occurring in high-skilled service jobs such as health, law and business.
With the majority of job shortages being felt in specialised professions the surge of vacancies is unlikely to drive down unemployment. The IFS report noted that 64 per cent of unemployed job seekers are in professions where competition is ten per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels with the situation likely to worsen when furlough ends.