Job Market Review: May 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.

May 2022 Snapshot

  • 247,878 adverts were posted on in May, up by 6% from 234,330 in April
  • The largest increase in jobs posted included Education, Transport & Logistics, and Hospitality & Catering, up by 30%, 29%, and 21%, respectively
  • Most significant decrease of jobs posted MoM in IT ( -12%) and Financial Services ( -5%) 
  • Candidate applications in Education were up by 15% MoM; however, this was down by -15% compared to last year

May – a month of ups and downs

After an April that seemed to batten down the hatches across the board, May felt like it was beginning to relax a little. Job vacancies posted overall were up by 6% from April, and significantly so in the key areas of Education (30%), Transport & Logistics (29%) and Hospitality & Catering (21%), which up to now, had a chequered past in attraction and retention. Many of these increases can be attributed to summer preparations.

Education will be looking for staff before the summer term kicks in – and in readiness for the new academic year in September. With a well-documented recruitment crisis in the sector, time and preparation to get people in place is wise planning. Hospitality & Catering will have no doubt been looking ahead to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, with parties, events and the bank holiday to staff, as well as looking ahead to the festival season, which will supply a huge and very welcome injection of footfall and cash flow after a difficult couple of years due to the pandemic. This is echoed in the Transport & Logistics sector, supporting supply and demand with Hospitality & Catering and many other industries, as they continue their efforts to recoup staff and losses from the recruitment crisis peak at the end of last year.

With the previously reported surge in salary for the transport sector active, there are still individual cases moving forward for pay increases through unions, so companies putting out new job postings would benefit from matching or going above the national average for pay. This is to attract people into the industry and stave off union action by supporting those already working for them.

In contrast, Information Technology and Financial Services were down on job postings in May, -12% and -5%, respectively. A noticeable factor here is that these are sectors where working from home is a far more viable option and where candidates are likely to be more passive in their job searches, so the roles are likely to be open for longer and the recruitment cycle lengthier due to candidates broader tick-lists of job desirables and negotiables.

What’s going on in the South West?

In May, South West England stands out with a 28% increase in jobs posted compared to April. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the region has enjoyed a continuous high employment rate and low economic inactivity. So, why is the South West doing well? 

While you’d perhaps expect Hospitality & Catering postings for the region to be higher, they’re still very respectable numbers. But with Transport & Logistics job postings up by 162% MoM, and  Engineering vacancies up by 13% in May, there are dominant industries at play here. It’s easy to see why with three key areas that contribute billions of pounds to the South West economy – tourism, shipping and logistics, and communications. 

As we come into the summer months, travelling abroad stays out of reach for many cost-wise. The South West offers Bristol, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall among others as popular tourist destinations and valuable commercial connections to Europe. When it comes to communications, we have to look at applications in the IT sector which were up 12% across the board in May. The South West played a significant part in that with applications up 18% compared to London, supporting the communications hubs in the regions.


Is the Sales sector feeling the pinch?


Money is a hot topic at the moment, so it’s hard to ignore the May figures for Sales, down a whopping 40% YoY in candidate applications. This could be a response to the cost of living crisis and the general economic climate. Painting a broader picture away from food price rises and individual costs, businesses will also be hugely affected by rising costs in energy, leasing and other business utility costs. Will anyone want to buy what companies have to sell? 

As businesses across all sectors feel the pinch, are candidates feeling that a job in Sales is futile, suffering from the assumption that it’s a sector best avoided in favour of assumed stability from a non-sales role? As the sector pushes for reform, candidates could be steering clear.

Looking ahead…

There are jobs to be filled across all sectors – employment is there for the taking, so why are roles left high and dry? We’ve talked at length about the candidate-driven market, and it’s as prevalent as ever, so how can employers attract suitable candidates and hang on to them? 

There are several ways to do this immediately, but the market also needs to start being more creative and inclusive in its efforts. There’s a lot of talk surrounding getting younger people into the jobs market, and rightly so, but there is a vast, well versed and talented pool of older candidates ready and waiting to work. 

Our Chairman, James Reed, recently talked about ‘The Grey Resignation’ and how there were as many posts vacant as people looking for work for the first time ever. Attracting a broader candidate pool and preparing them properly for current roles can only alleviate pressures on filling vacancies.

There is also the continuous and contentious matter of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). For example, gender pay gap research shows women are less likely to negotiate a starting salary than men through fear of awkwardness and imposter syndrome — unfortunately, a drop in the ocean of challenges faced in DE&I.

But changes are coming… A new initiative from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Fawcett Society aims to tackle the gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap. The ‘End Salary History’ campaign encourages recruiters to end the practice of asking job applicants about how much they earned in previous jobs – ensuring everyone is being treated equally when they apply for a job, no matter their background. Combined with the government’s salary transparency scheme – these are welcome additions to the recruitment market.

It is this kind of work that will help to bring candidates in to apply for roles. If job-seekers feel confident that they will be heard, paid their worth, and properly considered for a job role, then the logic suggests they are far more likely to apply.