Job ads slow in UK but office experts in demand, survey shows

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The number of job adverts in Britain rose at a slower pace in late August than earlier in the month, a recruiters body said, but there were signs that companies were looking for staff to help with a return to their offices.

Around 107,000 jobs ads were posted in the week beginning Aug. 24, taking the total of active postings to 1.12 million. In the first week of August, 126,000 new ads were posted.

“The trend of improvement in hiring we are seeing may be slow, but it is sure,” Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said.

“But we can’t assume an upturn in hiring means we are out of the woods, given the likely scale of job losses this autumn as firms adapt to the new reality.”

Unemployment in Britain is expected to rise as the government winds down its coronavirus job retention scheme which is due to expire on Oct. 31.

REC said a rise of more than 8% in adverts for air conditioning engineers and legal associate professionals suggested businesses were returning to their offices.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to get back to their workplaces to help the economy recover from its record 20% contraction in the April-June period.

Separately, a retailers group reported a modest improvement in the number of shoppers going to high streets and retail parks during August.

Footfall was down by nearly 35% compared with August 2019, a seven percentage-point improvement from July, the British Retail Consortium said.

However, there was a marked upturn in the final week of the month, Andy Sumpter, retail consultant for Europe with ShopperTrak, a research firm, said.

Last week, Britain’s statistics office said footfall in retail areas hit more than 75% of its level a year earlier in the week starting Aug. 24. 

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