South East – UK Regional Labour Market Trends, May 2024

London and South East strengthen ties, emerge as a high-tech hub


Key findings include:
  • South East is recovering after a dramatic decline in vacancies the prior year. 
  • Real Estate roles saw the biggest vacancy surge, up 38.6%.
  • Real Estate & Construction industry is up by 23.1%
  • Spicerhaart Group stands out with a remarkable 184.3% increase in recruitment


The symbiotic relationship between London and the South East has only strengthened in recent years, as the region has become a leading global hub for the high-tech industry.

However, looking at this year so far, the region has experienced a slump in jobs and recruitment, especially compared to the peak of the post-pandemic period. Contrary to the rest of the UK, the South East has seen a decline in vacancies in 2024 (-0.2%). Yet, compared to the sharp decline in vacancies last year (a decrease of 28.9%), we are observing a recovery period. On a positive note from the quarterly reports, Q1 2024 saw a 14.9% increase in vacancies compared to Q4 2023. This bodes well for the remainder of 2024, should this trend continue. This is according to the latest UK Labour Market Trends report by APSCo and labour market data analytics firm Vacancysoft.

Real Estate roles saw the biggest vacancy surge, up 38.6%

The demand for real estate roles has seen a remarkable increase in vacancies. Following a modest 3% rise from 2022 to 2023, there has already been a substantial increase of 38.6% this year. In contrast, IT professionals continue to experience a decline in recruitment, down by 8.1%. However, it is worth noting that after a sharp decrease in the prior year (-38.5%), demand for IT roles is starting to recover. Nevertheless, IT positions still hold the majority of vacancies, accounting for 20.2% of the total. Similarly, there has been a drop in recruitment activity for HR roles, down by 11.9% so far this year.

Real Estate & Construction sector emerges as the frontrunner

Rapid growth in the demand for real estate has led the Real Estate & Construction industry to emerge as the frontrunner, now accounting for 19.2% of total vacancies, overtaking Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT), which accounts for 18.8%. Among the top five industries, Real Estate & Construction shows the biggest surge in vacancies, up by 23.1%. Additionally, TMT is also showing a positive trend, with a 6.8% increase in vacancies. On the contrary, the biggest decline is seen in the Consumer Goods & Services sector, down by 11.7%.

Spicerhaart Group is leading the way and is on track for an increase of 184.3%

Amongst Real Estate & Construction companies, Spicerhaart Group stands out with a remarkable 184% increase in recruitment compared to the previous year, securing its position as the leading company in the region for the current year.  Another noteworthy player, Turner & Townsend, has experienced an unprecedented hiring activity surge, up by 121.6%. Also worth mentioning an increase in hiring in tech company ServiceNow, with vacancies growth by 59.4%

In contrast there is a notable decline in activity in GSK and AstraZeneca, where activity dropped by 11.2% and 33.7% respectively.

Delve into UK recruitment trends analysis to gain insights that shape the market!

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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