It is easier to get a job in Manchester than in London, according to a survey that explodes the myth that the nation’s capital is sucking the lifeblood out of the economy beyond the M25 corridor.
Data from the recruitment website Adzuna also shows a 2.7 per cent drop in vacancies in August to 1.23 million after the June 23 vote for Britain to leave the European Union, as caution surrounding Brexit and summer seasonality prompted a drop in hiring.
Despite this, the survey revealed an increase in advertised salaries for the first time in five months in August, reaching £32,784, up 0.3 per cent from July. It also found that the employment rate, at 74.5 per cent, hit a joint record high since comparable records started in 1971, thanks to growing self-employment and the rise of the gig economy.
Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, said that the drop in vacancies was unlikely to represent a long-term lull. “Hiring has certainly not ground to a half as many predicted after Brexit,” he said.
However, he warned about reading too much into the small rise in starting salaries, as pay was still far below pre-recession levels and inflation was expected to rise.
The findings, based on job ads from more than 500 websites, come amid much conflicting data about the impact of Brexit. Although the CBI’s latest survey of the financial services sector found that optimism remained low, a poll of chief executives by KPMG found that nearly three quarters were “confident” about their company’s growth prospects.
The headline figures from the Adzuna survey hide huge regional variation in competition for jobs, ranging from 8.39 jobseekers per vacancy in Northern Ireland to just 0.25 in the southeast.
However, London does not make it into the top ten best cities to get hired. That list is headed by Cambridge, where a high number of unfilled positions means that there are only 0.06 jobseekers per vacancy. Next are Guildford (0.09), Oxford (0.12), Reading (0.14) and Winchester (1.18).
London, where there were 0.49 jobseekers per vacancy last month, was beaten by a host of southern cities, but also by Manchester, where the number was only 0.23. The worst city for getting hired was Belfast, where there were 5.42 people chasing every vacancy.
The survey also indicates that not all sectors have suffered a summer slowdown. The number of advertised vacancies in consultancy, at 12,441, was up 5 per cent from July and up 10 per cent from last year as companies seek highly skilled experts, without having to take on permanent employees.