Job Market Review: April 2022’s monthly Job Market Review gives recruiters and businesses fresh insights into what happened in the jobs market last month – including candidate insights and regional and sector labour market performance.


April 2022 Snapshot

  • 234,330 adverts were posted on in April, down -12% from 266,680 in March 2022
  • The biggest drop in the number of jobs posted was in Health & Social Care (-22%), Education (-22%) and Hospitality & Catering (-21%). IT job postings were marginally down, by -3% MoM
  • Jobs posted in Administration increased by +47% YoY, Engineering by +10%, Financial Services by +23% and IT by +23%
  • 1.5 million applications were made, down -13% MoM


It’s mainly about the budgets

As March saw the race to spend what was left in the pot, April brought the annual halt to proceedings, with the new financial year and budgets the likely cause of postings decreasing across all sectors. Of note, Health & Social Care, Education, and Hospitality & Catering vacancies were down nearly 22% each. 

That said, Health & Social Care is still suffering from a reputation peppered with poor pay and conditions. With so many leaving the sector in the last few months, the open roles already posted are likely proving hard to fill. For Education, the drop is more likely to be financially led, further triggered by budget cuts in the sector affecting teacher staffing levels, with colleges particularly feeling the pressure.

Jobs posted continue to rise YoY, significantly so in Administration – by almost 50% compared to this time last year. A clear indicator of just how much lower-level and salaried jobs were impacted by the pandemic and a very welcome and positive sign that normalcy continues to resume.


Are candidates window shopping, and why?

Candidate registrations on increased YoY in April, and there could be various reasons for this. New budgets can breathe life into businesses, allowing them to offer chunkier salaries and beef up their benefits packages. Equally so, workers may not be getting the promotion or pay rise they’re after because of the budget and expectations not being met. 

The budgets may not be playing a part at all for some, and it’s come down to working conditions and circumstances, such as what is being played out in the long-suffering Health & Care and Education sectors for whom money isn’t the primary selling point or motivator. In a month where the news repeatedly reported struggles in the NHS, the catastrophic rising cost of living and the war in Ukraine, there are plenty of reasons why candidates would look to move on.

Are candidates too wary of applying?

Broadly speaking, candidate activity in April struggled, with applications declining by 13% from last month and by nearly a quarter from this time last year. This again suggests budgets interrupting candidate behaviour – especially if they are working already, as they wait to see what their organisation has to spend and how generous competitors may be.

Transport & Logistics stand out as applications decreased the least with only a -5% drop – no doubt a welcome reprieve for a sector in a constant battle for candidate attention against a negative media backdrop.

And it’s not all about money, not entirely anyway. Inclusions such as flexible and hybrid working, paid sick and parental leave, and tailored benefits programmes – will supplement the squeeze on incomes and support work-life balance. But, workers who are happy with the inclusions and benefits their employer provides will likely come back to the money, so careful consideration when changing jobs is expected and scoping the market before applying makes sense. 

And then there is likely a feeling of insecurity brewing again amongst the workforce who, having come through the pandemic and the threat of losing their jobs, are now contending with the rising cost of living and whether their salary is enough to get by. A tough decision for many will be whether to opt for security in their current role or try to find more money elsewhere.


Looking ahead…

As inflation is likely to rise further over the coming months, the cost-of-living crisis will put immense pressure on UK households. The public sector, in particular, is struggling to keep up with surging prices – teachers, nurses and emergency services workers may see their spending power shrink and employers are likely to be able to do little to help.

A prime example is Transport & Logistics. In an effort to recruit and ease staff shortages, the sector is hoping a salary increase of almost 12% for workers will boost applications – much higher in comparison to roles that were not reliant on EU workers. But, as we predicted, pay rises to counter skill shortages and National Minimum Wage increases are not enough to balance out the mammoth household bills. Likely, workers lucky enough to receive a wage boost above or even in line with inflation will be the exception rather than the rule.

So as we head towards the summer, it will be interesting to see the impact on jobs available and applications to them as the economy fluctuates and which industries, if any, come out unscathed. For candidates, we predict that the cost-of-living crisis will act as a further incentive for candidates to change jobs, securing a higher salary to keep up with rising costs. 

With top talent potentially on the move, employers will need to be proactive in reviewing their incentive and benefits offerings. By ensuring they are fit for now and appropriately serve their employees’ needs, they have more chance of retaining their staff and attracting the right talent for their business in future and weathering yet another round of national uncertainty.