Job prospects rise

Over 130,000 UK job vacancies need no formal education

Research from global job search engine Adzuna suggests that prospects for jobseekers without a degree are looking up, with over 130,000 advertised vacancies on offer that don’t require a formal education. The research, based on over 890,000 open roles featured on Adzuna in March 2021, analysed UK job openings and advertised salaries for positions requiring no degree or formal education.

Lower-skilled workers have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, bearing the brunt of increasing job competition from graduates and other higher-skilled workers, fuelled by rising redundancies and high unemployment levels. Unemployment among recent graduates hit 12 per cent in Q3 2020 according to the ONS, compared to a wider youth unemployment rate incorporating lower-skilled workers of 13.6 per cent in Q2 and Q3, and overall UK unemployment currently sitting at 5.0 per cent.

But with the end of lockdown in sight, the data reveals jobs not requiring a degree or formal education are finally flooding back to the market. The 30 roles analysed are advertising 138,648 job vacancies between them, equal to 16 per cent, or 1 in 7, of the 894,259 UK jobs currently available.

In particular, the recent lockdown DIY boom has driven demand for skilled trades, including 13,412 electrician job vacancies, 5,924 labourer openings, 3,718 plumber roles, 3,025 carpenter positions and 1,565 job vacancies for painter & decorators.

The pandemic has also stoked demand for warehouse, logistics and e-commerce roles. The increase in online shopping has created jobs for warehouse operatives (7,285 openings), couriers (8,602 openings), and HGV drivers (9,526 roles). Similarly, companies have focused on growing their online presence through their website, social media channels and through digital marketing, leading to rising opportunities in associated entry-level positions that require tech or social ‘know-how’ rather than a specific degree. As a result, three of our 30 ‘no-degree necessary’ picks sit within this space: Social media officer (1,613 openings), trainee software developer (642 roles), and digital marketing assistant (312 roles).

Hospitality openings are also starting to return as the UK looks forward to the end of lockdown, with 21,492 Waiter roles on offer, 6,530 chef openings, and 438 bartender positions. Meanwhile, as offices and bricks and mortar retailers prepare to re-open, expert cleaners remain in demand (11,853 openings).

The care sector is a final bright spot for jobseekers with no degree, with 3,907 advertised vacancies on offer, and hourly pay rates rising to as much as £22 per hour. Two jobs on our list have advertised salaries averaging over £40k, plumbers (£40,028) and photographers (£44,015,) showing workers don’t need to shell out on costly university tuition fees to earn a substantial salary.

“The pandemic has been particularly tough on non-graduate jobseekers who’ve had to jostle with furloughed workers, recent graduates and the newly redundant to try and secure work,” said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna. “But the jobs market has turned a corner for those without a degree. As restrictions lift and the country moves towards opening up, hiring is increasing in non-specialist roles, with a boom in demand for skilled trades, cleaners and hospitality workers. Meanwhile, initiatives like the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme are encouraging more companies to upskill younger workers on the job, rather than look to hire specialists, which could be a way into white-collar work for those who opted against higher education.”

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