Midlands – Regional Labour Market Trends, September 2023

West Midlands outperforms the rest of the UK job market in 2023

Key findings include:

  • Aerospace & Defence surging as Engineering sectors are on the rise
  • By Skill, IT remains the largest area in demand, despite a drop of 35% on last year
  • National Grid is a company to watch, +78% vacancies on last year

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The outlook for the Midlands region, encompassing both west and east, is down on last year, with there being a significant decrease of -22.4%. Nonetheless, the West Midlands is poised to increase its share of the national job market from 6.7% in 2022 to 9.6% in 2023. This is according to the latest Regional Trends report with APSCo and Vacancysoft.

The Technology and Retail/Consumer Goods and Services (CGS) sectors face significant challenges, with expected year-on-year decreases of -39.8% and -39.5%, respectively. In contrast, Industrials/Engineering stands out as one of the few sectors experiencing positive change in 2023, with a remarkable +14.6% year-on-year increase. This sector is set to more than double its 2022 share, reaching an estimated 17.0% in 2023. This encompasses the aerospace and defence sectors which have been surging since the war in Ukraine began.

IT continues to maintain its dominance as the largest area, albeit with a significant dip. Vacancies are on track to be 35.2% lower than the previous year. HR is another area worth spotlighting, as it is a bellwether function. When recruitment markets are busy, so is HR, but when markets slow down, it is within HR that we typically see it first. Hence, we can see vacancies are down this year compared to last, by 22%, which interestingly, is the same as the total change, across all functions.

In terms of companies to watch, In the Energy & Utilities sector, National Grid is set to undergo a remarkable transformation with a staggering 76.8% year-on-year change. This translates to 446 job openings. Jaguar LandRover are also ones to watch, in that they are the largest automotive company in the region, so the fact vacancies are down 52% on last year, will be of concern. In summary, it is worth mentioning that when looking at the top twenty companies in terms of vacancy totals, only four are on track to have more vacancies this year, than last. And for some companies, they are recording significant declines. The question will be if this is just a rebalancing, and if so, what does that mean for next year?


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All data featured in this report is available in the Vacancy Analytics platform, which is updated in real-time and allows for interactive analysis, giving you the power to drill into trends to identify the key insights, you need to power your business.

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