Has the job market in Ipswich recovered from Covid?

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Job postings in Ipswich are higher than the national average, but the number of unemployed people is leading experts to ask why? - Credit: PA

Job postings in Ipswich are recovering from the impact of the pandemic, but concerns remain over whether people have the skills needed to fill the roles on offer.

A Centre for Cities study looked at the number of jobs posted on the recruitment website Indeed for the 63 largest towns and cities in the UK.

It found that Ipswich was towards the top of this ranking with job postings only being down 2% when compared to the level before the pandemic.

Explaining the findings, Elena Magrini, senior analyst at the think-tank, said: "Ipswich's position is quite good.

"There are a number of reasons why we see these different patterns in different places, but mostly they are related to the industrial structure of the different places.

"We have seen that job postings are recovering much faster where there are more jobs in manufacturing, warehousing and transport.

"Whereas they're recovering more slowly where there are more managerial roles and in places more reliant on hospitality, and the food and drink and accommodations industry."

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A similar study by website CV-Library found that East Anglia had the third most vacancies of all UK regions with 5,555 jobs available in the week commencing April 12.

According to Ms Magrini, Ipswich is in line with the national picture as to which sectors are recruiting most, despite the prominent role the hospitality industry plays in Suffolk.

However, things are not all rosy on the job market.

"Ipswich seems to have more job postings than the national average, which is good," she said. "But it also seems to have more people claiming unemployment related benefits than the national average.

"It is good news that job postings are recovering this fast, but there's still something not going so well in Ipswich because there are a lot of people who are unemployed."

Ms Magrini said it was not clear what was driving this trend but said it could be down to people not having the right skills to fill jobs currently on the market.

She added: "It's kind of hard to predict what will happen in four or six months time at the moment because the situation is changing so rapidly.

"Assuming the vaccine rollout goes as planned you would assume that, as we hit other points in the government's reopening roadmap, hiring activity for the jobs and businesses that are affected by these new steps will pick up."

Commenting on the results of the study, Paul Simon, head of policy and communications at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “In many respects, the Centre for Cities report is encouraging as it shows the jobs market in Ipswich is bouncing back more assuredly from the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic than comparable locations. Ipswich’s business base is incredibly adaptable and resilient.

"And while unemployment rates in the town are slightly higher than average, this should not be a cause for handwringing: rather a further impetus for private and public bodies to deepen their joint working, including through Ipswich Vision, to attract inward investment, for sustainable improvements to the road and rail infrastructure in and around the town and for a step change in funding for both further education and in-work training."

Mr Simon said the Chamber was planning to launch a 'People & Skills Group' to be the "go-to forum" for businesses and others to "share insights and better co-ordinate their plans to ensure that we benefit from the government's levelling up agenda."

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