The labour market has become a "battleground" for job seekers, with 45 applicants chasing every low-skilled job and 29 candidates fighting for higher-skilled posts, according to new figures.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's latest Labour Market Outlook report also warns that 14 per cent of companies won't employ school-leavers and 11 per cent quickly rule out the long-term unemployed.
However, the CIPD also found that the net employment balance – which measures the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase staffing levels and those who intend to reduce staffing levels – has increased to +9 from +5 for the previous quarter. That means a fifth consecutive quarter of projected growth, with the expected increases in employment levels over the next three months coming from manufacturing, IT and consultancy services.
"Signs of increasing buoyancy in private sector job prospects is encouraging," Gerwyn Davies, CIPD Labour Market Adviser, said. "However, the labour market at present is a battleground for job seekers, particularly those with fewer skills or qualifications. There's a danger there will be even more applicants per vacancy in the future. Em-ployers can feel overwhelmed by such a high volume of applicants and tend to set a higher bar for their needs."