North West employers face skills shortages amid falling number of jobseekers

  • After 3 months of minor skills shortages in the North West, the jobs to candidates ratio has shifted leaving 1.3 jobs per candidates
  • Skills shortages were most acute in IT (2.7 jobs per candidate) and secretarial and support (1.6) jobs per candidate.

The latest Robert Walters Manchester Jobs Index, which tracks the number of jobs available and jobseeking professionals in the North West month-by-month, has revealed that the number of candidates actively seeking new roles in the North West is falling.

From February to March the number of active jobseekers fell 12%, and by a further 10% from March to April. By contrast, the number of jobs in the region increased by 5% from February to March and remained largely stable from March to April.

A combination of growth among local businesses and large multinational firms opening offices in the region has caused the demand for professionals across a range of disciplines to increase significantly in the North West.

Mat Knutton, Associate Director at Robert Walters Manchester comments:

The issues many employers are facing in struggling to recruit staff to meet demand can be linked to growth of established businesses in the North West, as well as a number of large firms opening regional offices in the area, placing a strain on the existing talent pool.”

“In particular, the shortage of secretarial staff is being caused by firms in the North West looking to take expand, creating a need for additional support personnel to ensure that this growth is sustainable.”

“Similarly, the increasing demand for IT professionals is linked to retail and related businesses looking to expand and update their online presence. Once again, the demand for IT staff is linked to the desire for among businesses to grow.”

“The impact for professionals is that those with in-demand skills are in a strong position to negotiate with employers to secure favourable pay and benefits.”


The research showed that skills shortages were most acute for IT roles, with 2.7 jobs per candidate. Employers were also struggling to source talented candidates for secretarial and support positions, with 1.6 roles per candidate.

Mat Knutton adds:

“Demand for IT professionals in the region has seen significant growth, leaving many employers struggling to source candidates with the skill sets they need.”

“Across a range of industries, businesses are investing in ecommerce and mobile functionality, as well as their digital departments more broadly, and looking to take on permanent staff to support this development.”

“This in turn is driving significant demand for developers, particularly those with skills in Java and .net scripting languages, as employers look to update their online and mobile presence.”

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