By Claire West

Job opportunities across the country rose even more sharply in February than January, up 18 Index points (16 per cent) month on month according to the report from Britain’s largest recruitment website, reed.co.uk. Employer demand continued its steep rise to give a Reed Job Index reading of 131, the highest since the Index began.

Employer demand has risen 27 points — 26 per cent — year on year. Private sector growth is responsible for this increase, with new public sector jobs on offer only just above half the level they were when the Index began in December 2009.

Twenty-seven different job sectors from across all areas of the private sector recorded their highest levels since the Index started. Sectors where job demand is 50 percent or more above the Index start-point include Engineering, Human Resources, IT & Telecoms, Leisure and Tourism, Marketing & PR, Media, Digital & Creative, Strategy & Consultancy, and Transport & Logistics. In contrast while the Reed Public Sector Job Index rose 8 points compared to the prior month it remained only just above half its base level when the Index began, to read 51.

Job demand rose across every area of the UK. Areas recording the biggest increases, with new jobs 30 percent or more above the Index base of 100 set in December 2009, ranged from East Anglia, London, South West England, and the West Midlands to Yorkshire & Humberside.

Yet salaries for new jobs slipped back one point to give a Reed Salary Index reading of 98. Salaries on offer for new jobs are down two percent in real terms since December 2009 and six percent down year on year, lagging further behind rising inflation. Month-on-month salary increases appear in just 12 out of the 35 job sectors analysed, with only the Banking Sector showing a month on month increase above the December 2009 base-line of 100, to give a Reed Banking Salary Index figure of 113.

Martin Warnes, Managing Director of reed.co.uk, comments on the Reed Job Index for February:

“UK employers are still in job-creation mode, according to the latest Reed Job Index, with 26 per cent more new jobs on offer now compared to a year ago. Employers right across the private sector are showing their confidence by recruiting new staff, at a time when high competition for new jobs is still keeping a cap on salaries."