UK unemployment rate at 4.7% although job vacancies advertised in their millions


Over the last year the labour market has changed drastically, from furlough schemes to working from home, to businesses shutting their doors completely.

With this in mind, Bionic, the business comparison experts, wanted to find out where across the UK unemployment is rising, which industries are offering the most vacancies, and what salaries are increasing.

Unemployment rate sits at 4.7% – but Wales ranks 0.8% lower than national average

Currently the UK’s national average unemployment rate sits at 4.7%. Wales has seen the biggest decrease in unemployment. The 1% drop now sets Wales unemployment at 3.9%, 0.8% lower than the national average.

Even though London follows behind Wales with a 0.7% decrease in unemployment, their average unemployment sits at 6.5%, 1.8% over the UK national average. The South East of England, and the East of England saw the largest increase in unemployment at 0.7% and 0.2%.

The UK has seen a mammoth rise in job vacancies, with over a million being advertised across the country. From April to June 2021 the highest number of vacancies are shown in social work with 153 vacancies, mechanics offering 107 jobs, and hospitality with 102 vacancies.

UK vacancies hit 12 month high – with over a million jobs being advertised

The labour market over the course of the pandemic has changed dramatically, from furlough schemes to working from home, to businesses shutting their doors completely. As restrictions ease and Brits continue to celebrate the benefits that come with Freedom Day, businesses have begun to open their doors again. But as businesses begin to reopen the demand for staff increases.

June 2021 has over double the number of vacancies as July last year

Month National Avg. Job Vacancies
July 2020 408,477
August 2020 531,696
September 2020 557,122
October 2020 631,829
November 2020 660,933
December 2020 697,995
January 2021 664,588
February 2021 755,923
March 2021 859,504
April 2021 927,103
May 2021 1,021,981
June 2021 1,176,830

In June 2021 1,176,830 job vacancies were advertised on job boards across the country. Glyn Britton, Chief Customer Officer at business comparison expert Bionic, offered some insight into why job sectors may be facing these shortages and the sectors most likely to see the biggest shortages:

“Job shortages aren’t a new thing, but it’s an issue that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic. Given the number of people who lost their jobs or were placed on furlough at some point since March 2020, it’s probably no surprise that UK job vacancies are peaking just as we’re about to fully reopen again. What is surprising though is that the latest employment figures show one in 20 people who want a job can’t find one. And then there’s the Brexit effect, which has forced many EU workers to leave the UK.

“Hospitality and haulage are among the industries hit hardest by job shortages. The hospitality industry has a large turnover of jobs at the best of times, but now has the double-whammy of Covid and Brexit. There’s also a shortage of workers in the IT and computing sectors, but this has been a long-standing trend that could be as much down to a skills gap as a problem brought on by Brexit and the pandemic.”

February 2021 was the UK’s highest avg. salary, with June 2021 ranking £2,862 less

Month National Avg. Salary per Annum
July 2020 £34,932
August 2020 £34,891
September 2020 £35,430
October 2020 £34,050
November 2020 £35,375
December 2020 £35,721
January 2021 £36,490
February 2021 £37,127
March 2021 £36,460
April 2021 £35,573
May 2021 £34,579
June 2021 £34,265

Throughout the last year job vacancies and salaries have fluctuated, however, there seemed to be a high increase at the beginning of the year with wages reaching up to £37,127. Now since February 2021 the national average salary per annum across the UK has been dropping in its thousands. For instance, June 2021 has seen a £2,862 drop in salaries from February 2021.

Glyn Britton, Chief Customer Officer at business comparison expert Bionic, added what businesses can do to attract more employees and keeping their current employees: “The government has been at pains to get people back into the workplace since the first lockdown ended around this time last year, and they’ve ramped up the rhetoric again ahead of July 21. It’s almost as though they think the entire economy is built upon commuter train fares and lunchtime meal deals.

“But the truth is that more people than ever have been given a glimpse of the better work/life balance that working from home can bring, and many won’t want to go back to the way things were before. To attract and retain the best employees, businesses are going to have to bear this in mind and offer flexible working conditions wherever possible – the technology is available for most businesses to make a go of this new hybrid way of working, but is the willingness there from individual business owners? If not, those staff shortages could be hitting more than haulage and hospitality.”

The long term effect on the SME job market post Freedom Day

Glyn Britton, Chief Customer Officer at business comparison expert Bionic, also added: “Nervous excitement will probably be the overriding feeling for most business owners, particularly those who are reopening their doors for the first time in around 18 months. It’s been a long four weeks for any business owners who were gearing up to fully reopen on June 21, especially those in hospitality who have felt the restrictions more than most. But what if the customers don’t return in the numbers expected? Or, if they do, will businesses be able to cope with the increased demand? At least all business owners will finally get a free run at finding out what their new normal looks like.”