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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Jobs Recovery Tracker: Growth in new job adverts accelerates as confidence rises and restrictions ease

Press releases

  • 181,000 new job adverts posted in the first week of May, equalling a total of 1.53 million active job adverts in the UK
  • Follows record high of 211,000 new job postings in the final week of April
  • Easing of lockdown has translated into increased confidence in the economic outlook and more job adverts
  • Continued growth for roles in hospitality, as well as more adverts in other service industries
  • In early May, Angus & Dundee City, followed by Belfast, were the hiring hotspots in the UK
  • Isle of Anglesey and East Lothian & Midlothian recorded the biggest falls in active job postings, while five of the bottom ten local areas were in Scotland

As the recovery gathers momentum and lockdown eases further, businesses are becoming increasingly confident about hiring new staff.

The REC’s Jobs Recovery Tracker found that in the first week of May there were 181,000 new job adverts posted online, giving a total of 1.53 million active job postings in the UK. This came on top of another 211,000 in the last week of April – a new record high for any week since the onset of the pandemic. 

Since early March, we have seen stronger growth in new job postings with a weekly average of around 164,000 – up from an average of 132,000 new job adverts every week in January and February. This sustained growth during the past two months shows how businesses are now much more willing to bring in new staff as lockdown eases and the economy continues its recovery. 

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“The jobs data continues to give us good news for the recovery. Since governments across the UK announced plans for easing lockdowns, we’ve seen a robust and rising rate of new job ads being posted. As restrictions ease, those numbers have continued to rise. Business leaders are feeling more confident now than at any point during the past year. 

“In this market, the challenge is more likely to be about helping people access newly created jobs, rather than job creation itself. The announcements on skills in this week’s Queen’s Speech will help with this – but only if employer feedback is taken on board. The consistent business feedback that the Apprenticeship Levy isn’t working needs to be addressed, with reforms that mean all workers can access training through a more flexible system. A reform to the levy would really speak to the government’s levelling up agenda.”

In the first week of May the occupation with the highest weekly increase in active job postings was teaching and other education professionals (+22.1%). There was also a strong increase in demand for vehicle valeters and cleaners (+7.9%) and playworkers (+7.4%). 

It is also encouraging to see a further increase in job adverts in hospitality and service industries amid the next phase of restrictions easing. In the first week of May, there was stronger growth in active postings for bar (+17.5%) and waiting staff (+9.9%), as well as kitchen assistants (+9.3%) and chefs (+7.2%). On top of that, with the potential for leisure, travel and entertainment to resume, there was an increase in demand for hotel and accommodation managers (+10.3%), conference and exhibition managers (+ 8.1%), and customer service managers (+7.7%) in the UK. 

At a local level, the top hiring hotspots in the beginning of May both came from the devolved nations. Angus & Dundee City (+9.4%) recording the steepest increase, followed closely by Belfast (+8.0%). 

At the other end of the spectrum, the Isle of Anglesey (-3.0%) and East Lothian & Midlothian (-3.0%) recorded the biggest falls in ative job postings in the first week of May. Five of the bottom ten areas for growth in active job postings were in Scotland, although they only saw marginal decreases. East Dunbartonshire (-2.4%) was third overall, followed by East Aryshire (-2.3%), West Lothian (-1.5%) and Dumfries & Galloway (-1.4%).

Matthew Mee, Director, Workforce Intelligence at Emsi said:

“With weekly new job postings now at pre-pandemic levels and lockdown restrictions set to be eased next week, the UK job market is in a very interesting place. With the workforce shrinking significantly over the last 12 months (a combination of Covid, furlough and Brexit), we’re hearing strong anecdotes from our recruitment clients of an increasingly tight labour market in a number of sectors – particularly those that aren’t currently listed on the Skilled Worker Occupation Shortage list. There’s certainly lots to think about – and changing demand trends will continue to be a useful lead indicator of both market pressures and economic recovery.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Jobs Recovery Tracker is produced by the REC in partnership with Emsi, using their Job Postings Analytics data which is harvested from tens of thousands of job boards. Data was harvested between 26 April and 9 May 2021. For more details, see the attached annexes which, in league table format, detail the top and bottom ten county/unitary authorities for growth in job postings and growth by occupation type.
  2. ‘Active’ job postings are those which were live online during the specified time period. ‘New’ job postings are those which were added to the active stock during the specified time period.

For more information and interview enquiries, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2129 or Outside of regular office hours, please call 07702 568 829.

About Emsi

Emsi’s goal is to help local, regional and national economies function more effectively through helping people make better decisions relating to the world of work. To achieve this, we employ a team of expert economists, data scientists and software programmers to build a dataset that is highly granular, extremely robust, and easy to use. Emsi was founded in Idaho in 2000 and now serves clients in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Find out more at


Top ten and bottom ten county/unitary authorities for growth in job postings:

County/unitary authority Unique active job postings, 3-9 May Change in active job postings, 26 April-2 May to 3-9 May
Angus & Dundee City 3,962 +9.4%
Belfast 10,788 +8.0%
Central Bedfordshire 6,066 +5.7%
Powys 2,153 +5.1%
Haringey & Islington 6,578 +4.7%
South Ayrshire 1,251 +4.4%
Buckinghamshire 12,747 +4.0%
Torbay 1,778 +4.0%
South Lanarkshire 2,775 +3.9%
East Riding of Yorkshire 4,137 +3.9%
Dumfries & Galloway 2,663 -1.4%
West Lothian 2,605 -1.5%
Bexley & Greenwich 4,492 -1.6%
South West Wales 5,143 -1.7%
Brent 4,163 -2.1%
East Ayrshire 947 -2.3%
Lambeth 5,806 -2.3%
East Dunbartonshire 412 -2.4%
East Lothian & Midlothian 2,331 -3.0%
Isle of Anglesey 483 -3.0%


Top ten and bottom ten occupations by growth in job postings:

Occupation Unique active job postings, 3-9 May Change in active job postings, 26 April-2 May to 3-9 May
Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c. 6,563 +22.1%
Bar staff 3,619 +17.5%
Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors 631 +10.3%
Waiters and waitresses 2,162 +9.9%
Kitchen and catering assistants 18,501 +9.3%
Conference and exhibition managers and organisers 4,964 +8.1%
Vehicle valeters and cleaners 574 +7.9%
Customer service managers and supervisors 4,145 +7.7%
Playworkers 540 +7.4%
Chefs 22,700 +7.2%
Electrical and electronics technicians 1,076 -3.8%
Therapy professionals n.e.c. 429 -4.5%
Veterinary nurses 1,037 -5.0%
Gardeners and landscape gardeners 1,785 -5.0%
Market research interviewers 567 -6.4%
Dispensing opticians 607 -9.9%
Bricklayers and masons 1,885 -10.1%
Roofers, roof tilers and slaters 1,620 -12.4%
Childminders and related occupations 2,588 -17.6%
Driving instructors 636 -17.6%


Key indicator occupations

Occupation Unique active job postings, 3-9 May Change in active job postings, 26 April-2 May to 3-9 May
Bar staff 3,619 +17.5%
Waiters and waitresses 2,162 +9.9%
Chefs 22,700 +7.2%
Sales and retail assistants 15,517 +5.5%
Care workers and home carers 44,308 +3.3%
Carpenters and joiners 6,526 +2.7%
Chartered and certified accountants 3,544 +2.5%
Primary and nursery education teaching professionals 40,782 +2.3%
Large goods vehicle drivers 7,889 +1.8%
Hairdressers and barbers 1,465 +1.7%
Cleaners and domestics 16,691 +1.5%
Marketing associate professionals 22,894 +1.3%
Fitness instructors 4,441 +0.3%
Nurses 72,948 +0.1%
Mechanical engineers 905 -0.7%
Metal working production and maintenance fitters 26,699 -0.8%
Programmers and software development professionals 68,961 -0.8%