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Berkshire begins 2021 brimming with local job opportunities

In the face of ongoing coronavirus challenges, online careers and skills hub, Berkshire Opportunities reports over 40k job vacancies in the region, demonstrating the continued strength of Berkshire’s economy

New statistics unveiled today (15 January) by Berkshire Opportunities shows that despite the economic challenges facing the UK, there are over 40k job vacancies in Berkshire, 32k of which are for permanent positions.  

In the face of the ongoing coronavirus challenge, the outlook for Berkshire’s workforce is positive, demonstrating the continued strength of the area’s economy. The latest analysis shows over 40k job vacancies in Berkshire, spanning diverse sectors such as technology and health and social care, with the average annual salary across all vacancies being £34k1

Trends show that while Berkshire job vacancies plummeted between March and June 2020 they have been steadily increasing throughout the year. In fact, at the start of December 2020, the number of live vacancies was 12% higher than that of the same period in 2019. 

These latest figures indicate that Berkshire has the highest job density of all the home counties. 

Comparing the latest data on the working age population (16-64) in key home counties to the number of jobs in each region, there are over nine positions available for every working age adult in Berkshire. 

In contrast, data indicates that Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Essex contain far fewer opportunities. In Essex, for example there are under seven jobs per working age adult, and in Surrey and Buckinghamshire, just over seven2

The top posted occupations in Berkshire include nurses, care and homes workers, IT and telecommunications professionals, software development professionals, book-keepers, business development managers and primary and nursery educators. 

This latest data was gathered in January 2021 by Berkshire Opportunities, a free online service that helps local job seekers, students and residents make informed career decisions. Job postings were analysed using Emsi, a labour market insight tool based on verified government data sources and online analytics.

Helping Berkshire job seekers find security and fulfilment 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS),  in the three months to October 2020, 370,000 people were made redundant3. Berkshire Opportunities has been designed to help residents deal with the impact of redundancy, offering support, advice, training opportunities and the latest vacancies in one easy-to-access platform. 

In fact, this data reveals that the top essential skills that employers are looking for include; communication skills, management, sales, customer service, enthusiasm and leadership. 

Berkshire Opportunities provides information on how job seekers can transfer these valuable skills to new industries, finding job security and fulfilment despite the current challenges. 

Dom Unsworth, Board Director and member of the Skills Advisory Panel, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP (which manages Berkshire Opportunities) said: “We are fortunate that Berkshire’s economy has remained strong; with key industries such as technology and health and social care continuing to thrive and offer attractive career opportunities for job seekers. However, we know that some sectors such as hospitality and retail have been hit harder by coronavirus and that these workers are facing a precarious future. 
“My message to those affected by redundancy, closure or furlough is to take action now to access the support and information you need to put your best foot forward, knowing there is demand for your skills and opportunities to thrive in a rewarding and secure career. For example, those with experience in the retail and hospitality sectors often have the expert customer and personal service skills that are in high-demand in technology and health and social care.” 

Opportunity awaits in technology and health and social care

Demand for information technology and telecommunications professionals in Berkshire has risen 12% in the last year, with employers keen to attract those with transferable skills to support the thriving industry. 

Alex Tatham, Managing Director of Westcoast, the largest privately-held business in the Thames Valley region with revenues in excess of £3bn this year, said: “What is fantastic about a career in technology is that there are so many routes in. First and foremost we look for people with strong, essential skills, with character and potential. Our approach is to hire the right people and ensure they are upskilled and supported to flourish. At a time when so many industries are insecure, the technology and IT sector is a secure sector in which careers are exciting, engaging and full of opportunity.”

Careers in health and social care are also booming. 

Nursing vacancies have increased over 41% from December 2019 to December 2021, with care and home worker vacancies increasing over 33% in the same period. 

Claire Wardle, Programme Manager (Nurse Expansion), South East Region, Health Education England said: “The NHS has been the hero of this pandemic and as a result interest in careers in nursing and healthcare has soared. This is fantastic and reflects peoples’ desire to make a difference, and this drive to help is one of the main things we look for in applicants. Lots of people think you need previous healthcare experience or qualifications to secure a healthcare role, but you don't. 
“We primarily look for people who embody the values of the NHS and can show they have transferable skills such as great communication, customer service and empathy for others. I’d encourage anyone who has been inspired by the amazing work of our NHS to log on to Berkshire Opportunities to access a wealth of support and information in a career in healthcare, including virtual career events your local NHS will be running over the next few months.”
Sally Kitson, Strategy and Partnership Manager, Slough Borough Council also highlighted the growth in opportunities in Adult Social Care, saying: “For those seeking a rewarding career, there is a wealth of opportunity in the Adult Social Care sector in Berkshire. The practical skills can all be learned, and there is lots of training on offer, no matter your past work experience. We are seeking staff that can really respect and value each person needing care and support, seeing them as a unique individual; Adult Social Care is about supporting and enabling people to do more for themselves, whatever stage they are at in their lives.”
Similarly, Tony Johnston, Managing Partner at Oxford House Care said of careers in Adult Social Care: “I really can’t emphasise enough how rewarding it is to work in this industry, with opportunities to train, develop and build life-long careers. For those of us working in care, we know that some negative perceptions still exist about the industry. However, when you speak with carers it’s clear these assumptions and stereotypes don’t reflect the way they really feel about their work. Care can be transformational for older people and it's wonderful to see the impact you can make on peoples’ lives. Very few careers offer this kind of motivation and reward.
“There's always demand for carers and it is rising massively in the Berkshire area in particular. We simply cannot fill vacancies fast enough - there are so many opportunities available to the right people. We welcome people from all backgrounds, with all kinds of experience. For example, those who may have been working in industries like hospitality or retail often bring fantastic customer service skills which translate really well into care.”

One-stop online portal for careers and training support

Berkshire Opportunities is Berkshire’s premier online portal to find out about live jobs vacancies, apprenticeships, Further Education and Post 16 courses and training opportunities, as well as local career path options, that are available locally. It is a free service that helps local job seekers, students and residents make informed career decisions and support them through the employment and skills challenges they face now, and in the future. 

It has been designed to support job seekers, students and residents dealing with the challenges brought about because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, providing information and support for those facing redundancy or considering pivoting to different careers or industries that may require retraining and upskilling

Dom Unsworth from Thames Valley and Berkshire LEP concluded: “With support and training it is possible to pivot to another career, in an industry where your experience and transferable skills are desperately needed and where you will find job security and fulfilment. I would urge anyone facing career uncertainty to explore berkshireopportunties.co.uk and feel supported in their next step.”

Overview of opportunities by key locations

Local District

Number of jobs

Bracknell Forest

3,972

Reading

12,500

Slough

6,834

West Berkshire

7,580

Windsor and Maidenhead

6,589

Wokingham

3,303

 

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1 - Source: Job Posting Analytics, Emsi Q1 2020 Data Set, January 2021, Emsi- economicmodelling.co.uk

Further information available on request

2 – See notes to Editors

3 - Source: ONS - Labour market overview, UK: December 2020

 

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Notes to Editors

Job Density; these are indicative figures calculated using the latest available working age population statistics published by the Office for National Statistics alongside the number of job in each region as analysed by Emsi’s Job Posting Analytics tool. Reports for each region are available on request. 

Position

County

Working age population (16-64) (2019)

Job density (2018) 

Job density (2020) Calculated as an indicative figure using job data via Emsi 

1

Buckinghamshire

328,500

0.86 (ONS, 2018)

0.73 (EMSI, 2020)

2

Berkshire

575,000 

1.04 (ONS, 2018)

0.92 (EMSI, 2020)

3

Surrey

731,900

0.93 (ONS, 2018)

0.73 (EMSI, 2020)

4

Hertfordshire

739,900

1.02 (ONS, 2018)

0.90 (EMSI, 2020)

5

Kent*

953,900

0.79 (ONS, 2018)

0.61 (EMSI, 2020)

6

Essex

899,400

0.79 (ONS, 2018)

0.66 (EMSI, 2020)

 

* Kent is not referenced in the body of the release due to a lack of information available on Emsi for the Folkestone and Hythe District Council area.