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Recent findings show that despite a decline in the number of active job postings during December, there are still opportunities for jobseekers.

That’s according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and LIghtcast’s recent Labour Market Trackers.

The report shows that the number of active postings in December 2023 was 1,710,492, a 24.3% decrease from the previous month and a 32% decrease from December 2022 (2,516,973). There were 2.8 million active vacancies in December 2021.

Occupations with notable increases in adverts in December 2023 include:

  • prison service officers (+34.7%)
  • authors, writers, and translators (+10.3%)
  • air transport operatives (+4%)
  • speech and language therapists (+3.0%).

Psychotherapists and cognitive behavioural therapists (-3.7%), dental nurses (-6.4%) and childminders (-6.6%) follow with the softest declines in job postings this month.

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Commenting on the findings, REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry, said, “It is little surprise that job postings were muted in December because employers tend to have completed Christmas hiring by November, and then postpone new activity until the new year.

“The labour market weakened across 2023, especially for permanent roles. But it did so from a very high base. Comparing with previous Decembers, we can see a significant fall from the levels of activity in previous post-pandemic festive periods. It is important to remember that activity levels overall remain relatively high by comparison to pre-pandemic norms, and unemployment is low. There remains opportunity out there for jobseekers, especially in growing sectors.

“Anecdote and client survey data suggests there is hope for more growth in the market this year. As the economy grows, businesses will be looking to government to use the Spring Budget to unlock labour supply with action from welfare-to-work programmes to skills reform and a more sensible debate on immigration.”

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