Job vacancies rose to a record high of nearly 1.2 million in August to October this year, according to the Office of National Statistics, far surpassing pre-pandemic levels. And according to the British public, it’s getting easier and easier to find a job.
Perceptions of the job market have been growing steadily more positive over the last few months as restrictions lift and businesses open up. A new YouGov poll shows that around half (49%) of the British public now think it’s easy to find a job in the UK, with less than a third (29%) saying it’s difficult.
Just a few months ago, in March, the mood of the public was entirely different. Just 11% of Britons thought it was easy to find a job, and the vast majority (81%) thought it was difficult to get work. In fact, our data shows that people now have more confidence in the availability of jobs than they did before the pandemic hit. At the beginning of February 2020, just prior to the pandemic, 39% of those surveyed thought it was easy to find a job, while 44% thought it was difficult.
The record high number of vacancies and the public’s confidence in the ability to find a job suggests that employers may have to offer more to attract new recruits.
But it seems as if younger Britons – particularly those aged between 18 and 24 – are not seeing the benefits of the vacancy boom. In our latest poll, a quarter (24%) of 18 to 24-year-olds say that it’s easy to find work, compared to 52% who say it’s difficult. Perception of the job market gets more positive with age – more than half (58%) of those aged 65 and older say it’s easy to find a job, with just 21% saying it’s difficult.
Political allegiance also plays a significant role, with Labour voters being more likely to have a negative perception of the job market. Around the same percentage of Labour supporters say it’s difficult for jobseekers to find work in the UK (41%) than think it’s easy (39%). Conservative voters, on the other hand, are much more positive, with around two-thirds (65%) saying it’s easy for job seekers to find work, including a fifth (21%) saying it’s ‘very easy’, while 21% say it’s difficult to find a job.
Social class slightly affects the perception of how easy it is to find a job. Some 54% of those in middle class (ABC1) households think it’s easy to find work at the moment, compared to 44% of those in working class (C2DE) households.