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Transport and storage industry sees fall of 36.5% in vacancies

Job markets worldwide have struggled throughout 2023 due to factors such as inflation driving up costs and triggering widespread layoffs. Across the UK, there were 226,000 fewer vacancies available in the three-month period from October – December 2023 than there were in the same period in 2022.

The UK’s unemployment rate was 3.8% at the end of last quarter, returning to the same level as October-December 2022. Despite this being a low rate, zero-hour contracts are counted among employment rates even though they do not offer consistent employment.

Side hustle experts Wealth of Geeks have analysed the latest data from the Office of National Statistics, which showed the available job vacancies from October – December 2022 and from October – December 2023, then calculated the percentage difference to rank each industry from the largest to smallest difference.

Transport and storage vacancies were down by 36.5%. With fuel costs rising and border crossings becoming more stringent, transport companies have had to reduce costs elsewhere to stay in business. From 2021, the industry has seen a decrease in businesses of 0.3%, equating to 9,000 fewer businesses.

Information and communication ranks second, with a drop in vacancies of 29%. These industries generally require a higher level of education, however with more graduates in the field, there is more competition for these jobs. 2023 saw businesses in this sector decrease by 26,000.

Arts and entertainment rank third, with vacancies down by 27.7%. Although the industry has seen an increase in businesses of 7,000, competition in the market is fierce, and many vacancies are part-time or seasonal.

Fourth on the list is financial and insurance, which saw a drop of 26.3% in vacancies. This industry is another that requires a degree and higher education. 1,000 businesses have been lost each year since 2021 in this industry, and due to a low turnover, job vacancies are scarce.

The Accommodation and food industry ranks fifth, with vacancies down by 23.9%. Similarly to arts and entertainment, most jobs in accommodation and food services are seasonal or part-time. This is due to the tight profit margins in these sectors, which are affected by food prices and transport despite an increase of 8,000 businesses registered.

Professional scientific and technical vacancies are down by 22.9%, putting this industry in sixth. 38,000 businesses in this sector have been lost since 2021, and as higher education or a specialised degree is required, turnover in the remaining positions is low.

Rank Industry Vacancies October – December 2022 Vacancies October -December 2023 Percentage difference 
Transport and Storage 48 30 -36.5% 
Information and Communication 57 40 -29% 
Arts and Entertainment 25 18 -27.7% 
Financial and Insurance 49 36 -26.3% 
Accommodation and Food 147 112 -23.9% 
Scientific and Technical 119 92 -22.9% 
Real Estate 14 12 -19.4% 
Retail 91 74 -18.6% 
Human Health and Social Work 207 170 -17.6% 
10 Construction 44 36 -17.4% 

Real estate is seventh on the list, with a fall in vacancies of 19.4%. The number of businesses registered has increased year-on-year from 2021, with 114,000 registered businesses in the industry in 2023.

The Retail industry is eighth on the list, with 18.6% fewer vacancies. Retail is a highly competitive sector due to its entry-level positions being suitable for anyone of working age. However, store closures and higher costs mean that stores often run on skeleton crews and cannot afford to hire full-time staff.

Rounding out the list are human health and social work, with 17.6% fewer vacancies, and construction, with a fall of 17.4%.

Michael Dinich, spokesperson for Wealth of Geeks, commented on the findings:

“When looking at the number of available jobs, it’s essential to understand what industries are common as that will dictate what most of the population are employed to do.

“Areas such as retail and general customer service make up the bulk of jobs available, but this is affected by the economy and education level of the population. These jobs are suitable for anyone, meaning there’s often high competition and high turnover as people grow in their roles. When it comes to more specialized jobs such as teachers or doctors, the entry requirements are much higher, and turnover is low due to those requirements.

“Supply and demand is another consideration in the job market. Technology-related degrees have been popular in recent years, leading to many graduates; however, costs have also risen, meaning companies cannot afford to hire as many relevant employees.

“Companies face rising costs, causing a domino effect where they cannot employ people, so the public cannot afford goods and support companies.”

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