Nurses have emerged as having the most sought-after positions in the UK, according to the latest data from global matching and hiring platform Indeed.

The high turnover rate within the NHS, coupled with broader skill shortages across the country, has driven an urgent need for healthcare workers.

Despite the pressing need to fill these vacancies, UK businesses are notably hesitant to look beyond domestic borders for candidates.

Indeed’s data reveals that 9 out of 10 job searches conducted by UK employers focus solely on British talent.

This trend is indicative of the wider challenges faced by the UK’s labour market, particularly in light of Brexit, which has exacerbated difficulties in filling lower-skilled roles traditionally occupied by European workers.

Top Three In-Demand Jobs

Following nursing roles, which account for 6.9 percent of CV searches, sales positions and chef roles round out the top three most in-demand jobs in the UK. Sales jobs make up 3.8 percent of searches, while chef positions account for 3.6 percent. These figures highlight the ongoing demand across various sectors, despite a significant 40 percent drop in job postings from their early-2022 peak.

Broader Skill Shortages

The UK’s ageing population has placed additional strain on the healthcare system, reflected in the high demand for support workers (2.4%) and care assistants (1.6%). Other notable in-demand roles include mechanics, customer service representatives, accountants, electricians, and teaching assistants, illustrating the widespread nature of the skills shortage.

Reluctance to Recruit International Talent

Even with these acute shortages, UK employers show a strong preference for local talent. When UK businesses do search for overseas candidates, they primarily focus on the United States, which accounts for 7.2 percent of international searches. In contrast, Eurozone countries like Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands make up less than 1 percent of these searches combined.

This stands in stark contrast to the rising interest in UK opportunities among foreign job seekers, which increased by 146 percent from a pandemic low of 2.2 percent in April 2021 to 5.6 percent in November 2023. Despite this influx of interest, UK employers remain cautious about hiring from abroad.

Jack Kennedy, Senior Economist at Indeed, commented on these trends: “The search terms used by UK businesses to review the millions of CVs on Indeed are indicative of the occupations where there are acute skills shortages that have been present for months, if not years. It’s no surprise that healthcare roles feature in the most in-demand roles, given the struggles the NHS continues to face in attracting and retaining staff.”

He added, “These trends in employer searches are also reinforced by the UK’s post-Brexit migration policy, which prioritises the higher-skilled end of the labour market. Because of this, worker shortages in lower-paid sectors are likely to remain a feature of the labour market for some time to come.”

Most In-Demand Jobs in the UK

Role Share of CV Searches (%)
Nurse 6.9
Sales 3.8
Chef 3.6
Support Worker 2.4
Care Assistant 1.6
Mechanic 1.3
Customer Service 1.2
Accounting 1.2
Electrician 0.9
Teaching Assistant 0.8


UK Employer Search Preferences

Jobseeker Location Share of CV Searches (%)
United Kingdom 90.6
United States 7.2
Ireland 0.5
Germany 0.2
Netherlands 0.2

Kennedy concluded, “UK businesses who are able to may want to look at jobseekers from outside the country to fill gaps. While it’s not always straightforward to hire international talent, foreign jobseeker interest has rebounded strongly since the pandemic and turning to this wider pool may help source the right people for hard-to-fill roles.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.