South West – UK Regional Labour Market Trends, April 2024

South West’s Professional Vacancies Rebound After Recession

Key findings include:
  • In 2024, there is a 7.6% increase in vacancies across the South West 
  • Accounting & Finance firms saw the biggest vacancy surge, up 19.4%.
  • Real Estate & Construction saw the biggest increase, with volumes up by 32.5%
  • Nationwide stands out with a remarkable 255% increase in recruitment 

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After the technical recession in 2023, which led to vacancies dropping in the region compared to 2022, we have seen a bounce back in Q1 so far, culminating in an uplift of 7.6% which compares favorably to the national figures (+5.4%.) As a result, the region now accounts for 6.7% of the national total in terms of vacancies, up from 5.8% in 2022.

Similarly, when viewing the quarterly totals, this is indicative of the upward trend also, with Q1 2024 recording the highest level of vacancies in a year, with only Q1 2023 being higher. This is according to the latest UK Labour Market Trends report by leading professional body APSCo and and labour market data analytics firm Vacancysoft.

Accounting & Finance positions lead in recruitment 

Accounting & Finance positions saw a remarkable surge, with volumes soaring by 19.4% compared to the same period in 2023. Similarly, the IT sector experienced a notable increase of 4.3% in its monthly average. Marketing also demonstrated positive growth, marking a 6.5% increase.

When examining specific roles in demand, Software Engineering positions experienced a substantial uplift, with vacancies soaring by 40.9%. B2B business development sales emerged as the leading area, exhibiting a significant increase of 13.7%. Additionally, Inside sales roles saw a noteworthy surge in demand, with vacancies experiencing a considerable increase of 29.9%.

Real Estate & Construction sector emerges as the frontrunner

When analyzing job vacancies by industry, the Real Estate & Construction sector emerges as the frontrunner, experiencing a remarkable surge in demand. Vacancies within this sector have surged by 32.5%, marking the most significant increase across all industries. Similarly, the Professional Services sector has witnessed a notable increase of 25.3%. Financial Services have also seen a substantial uptick in vacancies, with a notable increase of 14.6%.

In contrast, Consumer Goods & Services companies have scaled back on recruitment efforts in 2024, with vacancies declining by 16.9% compared to the previous year. Furthermore, a sharp decline of 23.7% was seen within Energy & Utilities companies.

Nationwide is leading the way and is on track for an increase of 255%

Nationwide stands out with a remarkable 255% 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, Howden Group Holdings, has experienced an unprecedented hiring activity surge. During the first quarter alone, they advertised 252 vacancies. 

PKF, the renowned Accountancy Firm, is on track for a remarkable 205% increase year on year, following their recognition as one of the leading organizations to work for in the region.

Connells, a prominent real estate & construction firm, is poised for a substantial increase of 203%. This surge could be partly attributed to their recent merger with Countrywide, which likely contributed to the heightened recruitment activity.


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