The UK labour market is turning a corner as competition for jobs has reached a two-year low after falling more than a third in the space of a year.
According to research by jobs site Adzuna.co.uk, competition for work has plummeted by more than a third (35%) year-on-year.
The research found that there were just 1.55 job seekers competing for each advertised vacancy in February – 35% lower than the year before (2.39).
This is in stark contrast to February 2013 when 1,700 applicants chased just eight jobs at a Costa Coffee outlet in Nottingham. Even as recently as February, the ratio of applications to jobs for a position at a Center Parcs resort was more than 7:1.
"More jobs are popping up all over Britain as employers gear up for a busy spring, and as a result, competition between candidates is easing," said Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna.
"In many parts of the country there are now more jobs advertised than jobseekers, and top talent is becoming harder to source."
The research also revealed that advertised salaries sank 4.4% year-on-year to £32,023 in February – representing a real-term fall of £2,077 over the last year.
The study found salary stagnation hit hardest in London (-6%), East Anglia (-5.3%) and the Southeast (-4%), while the Northwest saw moderate growth (2%)
The report found that salaries did not always follow vacancy growth.
Job vacancies in the Southeast, for example, grew by 10,000 in the month to February, reaching 113,324 but the region recorded the third largest annual decline in terms of salary, dropping 4.4% to an average of £30,418.
Adzuna said this negative correlation was echoed in London.
The capital featured on the top 10 best cities to find a job for the first time in February, with 1.01 jobseekers per vacancy, after vacancies increased 16% year-on-year.
But London was also the region in which salaries have fallen the most in the last year.
The findings came after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that average UK earnings rose at an annual rate of 1.4% in the three months to January. Private sector wages grew at a rate of 1.6% (excluding bonuses) against CPI inflation of 1.7%.