The UK job market is experiencing a positive turn as Christmas hiring surges, primarily driven by a substantial increase in Retail and Warehouse & Logistics vacancies, according to the latest UK Job Market Report by job search engine Adzuna.

In October 2023, total advertised job vacancies rose by +0.35 percent to 1,026,434, marking the first positive growth since June.

This uptick is attributed to the heightened demand for staff in the retail and logistics sectors in preparation for the upcoming festive shopping season.

While vacancies remain below last year’s levels, the smallest year-on-year gap since February suggests a recovering trend.

However, the joyous news of increased job opportunities is accompanied by a dip in average advertised salaries outside of London, falling to £36,946—a decrease for the first time in eight months.

The downward trajectory aligns with the prevailing trend in inflation. Despite this, the time to fill roles has reached its shortest duration all year, as companies swiftly secure skilled talent.

Positive Growth in Retail and Service Sectors

Despite overall job decline in various sectors, there is a positive surge in hiring within the retail and service sectors. Retail job vacancies have risen by +8.29 percent, with additional staff being hired in anticipation of the Black Friday and Christmas shopping rush. Other sectors experiencing growth include Customer Service (+2.5%), Hospitality & Catering (+0.8%), and Logistics & Warehouse (+4.35%).

While graduate job vacancies show signs of recovery, with a +15.1 percent increase month-on-month, year-on-year figures still depict a challenging job market for recent graduates. Energy, Oil & Gas roles continue a downward trend, down -3.92 percent compared to September, with Legal jobs witnessing the most significant monthly fall (-6.56%).

The time to fill jobs metric has hit its lowest point this year at an average of 34.5 days, with Voluntary jobs (28.7) and Admin and Teaching vacancies (both 31.1) leading the way in swift recruitment.

Sector Salaries and Regional Trends

Continued declines in advertised salaries are evident across several sectors, including Admin (-0.83%), HR & Recruitment (-0.99%), Healthcare & Nursing (-1.06%), and IT (-1.45%). However, positive movements in Legal (+1.63%), Energy, Oil & Gas (+2.82%), and Trade & Construction (+1.42%) sectors bring balance.

Advertised salaries have seen an annual increase in Manufacturing (+8.52%), Customer Service (+4.83%), and Hospitality and Catering (+3.26%). However, IT and HR & Recruitment experience annual falls (-9.57% and -6.04%, respectively).

The trend of advertised jobs without disclosed salaries continues, constituting 51.8 percent in October 2023, emphasizing the ongoing fall in salary transparency throughout the year.

Regional Shifts in Average Salaries

For the first time in eight months, London is not the sole region witnessing a decrease in average advertised salaries. Wales experienced a -0.69 percent fall, with growth slowing in other regions, including Yorkshire and the Humber (down -0.74 percent month on month) and North East England (down -1.44 percent month on month).

Northern Ireland stands out as the region experiencing the highest growth in annual salaries, up +6.74 percent compared to 2022, with East Midlands following closely at +5.89 percent.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, suggests that while falling advertised salaries may seem concerning, it indicates a retreat in inflation. The anticipation of a Christmas boost is fueling the increase in Retail and Logistics & Warehouse jobs, providing essential support to the national job market.

Adzuna’s monthly UK Job Market Report offers a real-time snapshot of employment opportunities across the country, drawing data from over 1,000 sources. This information aids policymakers, businesses, and job seekers in navigating the evolving job landscape.






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.