Growth in Graduate Job Postings Slower than for Non-graduates

The UK Labour Market Review: July 2023

Published on Jul 13, 2023

Written by Elena Magrini & Rob Slane

The UK Labour Market Review

The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) July 2023 Labour Market Overview revealed the following unemployment, job vacancy, and salary trends:

  • A 0.2% increase in the unemployment rate from March to May to 4%.

  • An 85,000 fall in estimated vacancies, which is the 12th successive quarterly fall.

  • Growth in average annual pay (including bonuses) over the quarter of 6.9%.

Job Vacancies in the UK

In this month’s Lightcast UK Labour Market Review, as usual we look at our real-time Job Posting Analytics to gather some more insights on employer demand and salaries, plus a look at changes in the software skills being requested by employers over the last decade.

Rise in graduate job postings flatter than the rise in all job postings since 2020

When we look at new job postings, we can see that there has been a slight fall from 1.07 million last month, to 1.05 million this month. Although this is not a huge fall, along with this month's ONS vacancy data, it is perhaps another signal that employer demand is cooling slightly.

More interesting, perhaps, is the data on graduate jobs, which we’ve added in our job postings chart for the first time. As you can see, although demand for graduate positions has grown over the last three years - from 0.37million in January 2020 to 0.56 million in June 2023 - the rise been much flatter than that for all jobs.

Advertised salaries rising at a faster rate for non-graduates than graduates

In our last three UK Labour Market Reviews (April, May, and June), we saw that median salaries for graduate positions had declined month-on-month from £40,128 in February to £38,800 in May. The data for June shows this decline stabilising, and in fact there has been a slight uptick from £38,848 to £39,104, although this is still around £1,000 lower than what we were seeing at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. 

Median advertised salaries for non-graduate roles have continued to rise, with June’s data showing them at £26,560, which is over £2,500 per year more than this time last year.

Fastest month-on-month job postings growth in West Berkshire

In last month’s Review, we saw most of the monthly growth in job postings concentrated in Yorkshire. In June, the hotspots were generally found in the South and Midlands of England, with one particular area - West Berkshire - seeing incredibly fast growth of 96.8%, compared to the next fastest growing areas, which were Medway (9.4%), Stockport (8.3%), and Solihull (5.5%). Digging into our data, we can see that the explanation for this huge spike in West Berkshire is largely down to the fact that Vodafone posted over 2,800 unique online job adverts in June, compared to 178 in May.

Looking at the map for graduate postings, again the fastest areas for month-on-month growth are mainly in the South or Midlands, with Warwick (11.0% growth), Exeter (10.9%) and Solihull (7.6%) making up the top three. 

Power BI, Microsoft Azure, and AWS among the fastest growing software skills

Each month we complete our Review by looking at an aspect of the labour market that is both topical and of interest. This month's chart is no exception. With the last few years seeing phenomenal growth in digital skills, we decided to find out which software skills are most in demand, and how this has been changing. The chart below shows the top 20 software skills, ranked in terms of the number of job postings mentioning them, over the last decade.

It comes as no surprise to see the Microsoft suite - Excel, Office, Office, Outlook and Word - at the top throughout the 10 years. There are then a number of skills that once made into the top 20, but have since fallen or in some cases practically disappeared. Many of these are connected with using a web browser - for example, Firefox (from 14 in 2014 to 861 in 2023); and Safari (17 to 421). This suggests that whereas employers used to mention using a web browser in their job adverts, this skill is now such an integral part of most jobs that there is no longer any need to mention it.

There are then others that were almost unknown a decade ago, but which are in high demand today. For instance, Microsoft Azure (254 in 2014 to 9 in 2023); Amazon Web Services (223 to 11); ; and Power BI (915 to 17).

Duncan Brown, Lightcast's VP of Global Innovation commented:

"This month's data continues to show a cooling in the labour market demand, corresponding with the latest indicators from ONS. Most noteworthy, however, is the trend for graduate jobs. We've seen in recent months that the advertised salary growth for graduate roles has been tracking below the growth seen for non-graduate roles, but we can also see a similar story with employer demand. Despite demand for graduate positions rising since 2020, it has grown more slowly than the wider labour market, suggesting that the tight labour market we've seen has been more acute in terms of non-graduate positions than for graduate roles."

We’ll be back with another UK Labour Market Review in August.

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