Minimum wage rise leads to decline in summer jobs

  • Job postings for chefs were down by around a third, according to the REC
  • The National Living Wage for 21-year-olds rose by 9.8% to £11.44ph in April 

A leading trade body has warned that the new national minimum wage is leading to fewer vacancies for summer work.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said there was a ‘dramatic fall in demand’ for seasonal staff in April and May – when summer staff are traditionally lined up – compared to the same time last year.

Job postings for chefs, and leisure and theme park attendants were down by around a third, while they were 38.1 per cent lower for restaurant and catering managers and 44.5 per cent down for hotel managers and proprietors.

Not hiring: The Recruitment and Employment Confederation noted that many businesses were experiencing a ‘dramatic fall in demand’ for seasonal staff over the summer

The organisation also said there had been a ‘steep’ drop in vacancies for critical tourism and event roles across all UK regions, except for Wales, Northern Ireland, and the North East of England.

It believes this may be due to political uncertainty, the UK economy flatlining last month, and the higher UK minimum wage.

Employees aged 21 and over are entitled to the National Living Wage, which rose by 9.8 per cent to £11.44 per hour in April and was previously only available for those of at least 23 years of age.

At the same time, the minimum wage for 18-20-year-olds jumped by 14.8 per cent to £8.60 per hour and for those aged 16 and 17 by 21.2 per cent to £6.40 per hour.

Neil Carberry, the REC’s chief executive, said: ‘A second big increase in the national minimum wage has affected hiring levels in key sectors. We can see some evidence of that drag in the lower summer seasonal hiring demand we report today.

‘Reducing hours or roles while opening for shorter periods are all decisions which firms may feel forced to make in tough times.’

His warning came alongside REC figures showing the volume of active job adverts remained above 1.7 million in May, a 0.7 per cent decline on the previous month as the UK employment market continued to cool down amid elevated interest rates.

Among the professions that saw a decrease in postings were probation officers, data entry administrators, and nannies and au pairs.

A drop in active postings disproportionately impacted London, as demand for both permanent vacancies and temporary workers deteriorated in the UK capital.

Half of the ten local authorities recording the biggest declines were in London, with Tower Hamlets accounting for the largest fall of any area in the country.

However, the borough of Bromley enjoyed one of the largest percentage rises in job adverts (14.1 per cent), with only Ards and North Down in Northern Ireland and Conwy and Denbighshire in Wales experiencing higher increases.