Labour Market Overview, UK: November 2023

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

UK Vacancies Continue to Decline, Annual Pay Growth Remains Strong

In the ever-evolving landscape of the United Kingdom's labour market, the November 2023 report offers a glimpse into the recent shifts and trends that are shaping the nation's workforce. This comprehensive overview highlights both the challenges and opportunities that have emerged in the labour market.

The latest labour market report for the United Kingdom reveals a persistent decline in job vacancies for the 16th consecutive period, spanning from August to October 2023. Despite this challenging vacancy landscape, the report highlights several noteworthy trends and indicators that provide a comprehensive understanding of the current state of the UK labour market.

Decline in Job Vacancies: The estimated number of job vacancies declined by 58,000 on a quarterly basis, reaching a total of 957,000. This decline impacted 16 out of the 18 industry sectors, signifying a widespread and enduring trend.

Pay Growth: Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) remained robust at 7.7% in Great Britain for July to September 2023. Annual growth in employees' average total pay, including bonuses, was 7.9%, with one-off payments in the Civil Service influencing this figure. Real terms adjustment for inflation (CPIH) revealed a 1.4% growth in total pay and a 1.3% growth in regular pay on an annual basis.

Working Days Lost: September 2023 witnessed 229,000 working days lost due to labour disputes across the UK. Strikes were predominantly concentrated in the health and social work, as well as the education sectors, highlighting persistent challenges in these critical areas.

Payrolled Employee Growth: A notable revision from the previous bulletin indicated an unexpected increase of 32,000 payrolled employees in September 2023, compared to the initially reported decrease of 11,000. The estimate of payrolled employees in the UK for October 2023 rose by 33,000 compared to the revised September 2023 figure, reaching a total of 30.2 million. It is crucial to note that the October 2023 estimate is provisional and subject to revisions as more data becomes available in the upcoming months.

Inconclusion: The UK labour market continues to grapple with persistent challenges marked by a decline in job vacancies. However, the resilience in pay growth, particularly in regular pay, and unexpected positive trends in payrolled employment offer a glimmer of optimism amid ongoing uncertainties. The report underscores the need for continued monitoring and adaptation to evolving economic conditions as the nation navigates the complex dynamics of the labour market

Vacancies and jobs in the UK: November 2023

  • The estimated number of vacancies in August to October 2023 was 957,000, a decrease of 58,000 from May to July 2023.
  • Vacancy numbers fell on the quarter for the 16th consecutive period in August to October 2023, down by 5.7% since May to July 2023, with vacancies falling in 16 of the 18 industry sectors.
  • In August to October 2023, total estimated vacancies were down by 257,000 from the level of a year ago, although they remained 156,000 above their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic January to March 2020 levels.
  • The industry sector showing the largest annual decrease in the number of vacancies is professional, scientific, and technical activities, which fell by 35,000 from the equivalent period last year.


Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 14 November 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Vacancies and jobs in the UK: November 2023