North West England – UK Regional Labour Market Trends, March 2024

North West rebounds in 2024, Tech and Engineering lead the way

Key findings include:

  • The North West has seen an uplift of 5.3% so far this year compared to 2023
  • Engineering vacancies are up 15.8% YoY, and 2024 continues to see growth
  • Technology picks up in 2024, with vacancies up 18.9%
  • Jacobs becomes the leading recruiter with an increase of 121% in 2024 so far


After enduring a challenging six months, which ultimately led to the UK entering a technical recession, signs of recovery are finally beginning to emerge. The North West region has managed to increase its share of the national total from 7.5% in 2022 to 8.5% in 2023. Turning to the current year, we observe an uptick in the northwest’s monthly average, increasing by 5.3% compared to 2023, which bodes well for regional recruiters. According to the latest UK Regional Labour Market Trends Report by APSCo and labour market data analysts Vacancysoft.

Ann Swain – CEO – APSCo – comments:

The job market over the pandemic period across the northwest has outpaced the rest of the country, and average salaries have risen faster than the rest of the country as a result, hence despite the national cost of living crisis, people based in Manchester are seeing higher disposable incomes and quality of life. The next priority is for a political commitment to secure infrastructure investment, to drive up productivity to enable the region to compete with London”

Engineering surges, now up to 14.1% of all professional vacancies, up from 8.9%

Engineering has recorded a surge in vacancies by 15.8% in 2023 and by 14.5% in 2024 compared to 2023 when examining the monthly average. Consequently, its share of total vacancies has risen from 8.9% in 2022 to 12.9% last year and 14.1% thus far this year. 

In contrast, vacancies in the IT sector plummeted by 36.5% year on year when comparing 2023 to 2022. Similarly, Account Management has also seen a significant drop in 2023, down by 40.8%. Finally, within Sales & Marketing, despite a sharp decline of 27.4% in 2023, the monthly average in 2024 showed an 11% increase.

Technology slumps in 2023, but there are signs of a bounce-back in 2024 so far

The Technology industry experienced the most significant year-on-year decline in 2023, with vacancies decreasing by 37.6% compared to 2022. Consequently, its share decreased from 21.4% in 2022 to 14.4% in 2023. However, thus far in 2024, there is an increase in vacancies by 18.9%, bringing the industry’s share of total vacancies this year to 16.2%.

Similarly, Financial Services has faced a drop in vacancies by 33.1%. Alarmingly, this trend has continued into 2024. 

In contrast, the Real Estate & Construction industry has increased the number of vacancies by 34.5% in terms of the monthly average despite a dip in 2023 (vacancies fell by 28%).

Jacobs leads the way in the North West region, BAE up 135.8% YOY

Leading the list is Jacobs, the top recruiter in the northwest region thus far this year. Following a subdued 2023, which saw only a 5% increase over the previous year, 2024 has witnessed a significant surge, with their monthly average increasing by 121%. This has led to BAE Systems, after claiming the top spot in 2023 with a remarkable increase of 135.8%, dropping to second place. 

In contrast, Barclays has fallen off the top twenty list this year, dropping vacancies by 85.6%. Similarly, when comparing 2023 to 2022, vacancies plummeted by 67.8%, marking one of the steepest declines among any business.

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