Transport and storage industry sees fall of 36.5% in vacancies

White delivery vans in a row. Express delivery and shipment service. Transporting service company

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.”

1 thought on “Transport and storage industry sees fall of 36.5% in vacancies”

  1. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    Commercial driving is not getting any easier. For large vehicles,, the plethora of legislation is bewildering and very easy to get wrong. For example, there are EU and UK drivers’ hours regulations. Which one to use? They are very similar, so just get rid of the UK rules and stick with the EU ones. Then there is the Working Time Directive. This adds another completely pointless layer of complexity on driving. Bear in mind, the UK officially opted out of this Directive in 1992 only for Jacques Delors to slide it in under Health and Safety.

    Every year, commercial drivers have to complete 7 hours of training so that every 5 years, they can renew their Certificate of Compentence (CPC). This adds layers of cost onto business and serves very little purpose. Most of the stuff taught was either already known or irrelevant. I can understand hi-jacking a bullion truck, but a lorry load of bricks? This should be slimmed down to a periodic knowledge review. The one thing that is never checked is driving ability. This should change.

    Meanwhile, the explosion in on line shopping since the Chinese virus swept the country has ended up with van drivers being given impossible delivery routes. Not only do they have to drive like maniacs but they also regularly fail to safely and properly deliver. If the van sector cannot regulate itself, the unused legislation when drivers’ hours were introduced must be put in place. At the time, all commercial vehicles fell under drivers’ hours, but in practice, anything under 3,500 (or the hundredweight equivalent) was bascially ignored. The laws are there. Just switch them on.

    A lot of drivers are being driven away by the new legislation effectively blaming them for everything that ever happens. Stress levels are going through the roof. Quite apart from having to look at more mirrors than a narcissists boudoir, they must also keep an eye on a multiplex cinema, all the while driving something around 15 metres long. If an idiot cyclist or an illegal scooter does something stupid around a truck and dies, it is the driver who ends up in the dock. Unsurprisingly, many have decided that the downside risks of getting into very serious trouble through the antics of the terminally stupid or arrogan are simply not worth the candle.

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