Jobs market shows signs of improving across Britain

Britain's labour market is beginning to create new job opportunities at a faster rate, a new report reveals today, offering some comfort to those who fear the private sector is not growing sufficiently quickly to step in following public-sector redundancies.

The Reed Job Index, compiled by the recruitment agency, suggests that the jobs market has begun the new year by improving strongly, with a reading that is 16 per cent up on January.

The index appears to reflect the changing face of Britain's economy. The sharp rise in the Reed index would seem to suggest Britain's economy in 2011 is performing as expected, with the demand for new workers coming entirely from the private sector – the number of public-sector jobs on offer, by contrast, is currently only half as high as a year ago.

Reed said job vacancies were on the rise in a whole range of sectors, with engineering, human resources, telecoms, leisure, marketing, media and transport all standing out.

The report also suggests that job vacancies are increasing across the country. East Anglia, London and the South West all score especially highly.

In fact, the only less positive news in the survey is that salaries are not showing any sign of increasing.

Reed's report said that the salaries on offer for new jobs are 2 per cent lower, in real terms, than a year ago, while only 12 out of 35 business sectors are offering higher salaries this month than they were a month ago.

That may be seen as good news, however, in the sense that one fear about Britain's persistently above-target inflation has been that it would lead to spirally wage demands. The Reed evidence is that this has yet to happen.

The increasing demand among private-sector employers for staff will also buoy those who fear the economy is not picking up rapidly enough for forthcoming austerity measures in the public sector to be surmountable.

"UK employers are still in job-creation mode, according to the latest Reed Job Index, with 26 per cent more new jobs on offer now compared to a year ago," said Martin Warnes, Reed's managing director.

"Employers right across the private sector are showing their confidence by recruiting new staff, at a time when high competition for new jobs is still keeping a cap on salaries."

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