1,647 Cambs job vacancies as upsurge in post-lockdown employment expected

ARU ground cutting at Peterborough

Creation of new - and better jobs - is an aspiration of the new £30m university that is under way at Peterborough. .From left to right, Professor Roderick Watkins, Mayor James Palmer and Councillor John Holdich mark the start of construction of ARU Peterborough in December. - Credit: CAPCA

1,647 jobs are available across Cambridgeshire and an upsurge in post-lockdown employment is expected, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Currently, there are 816 jobs available in Cambridge, 117 in Ely, 100 in Wisbech and 614 in Peterborough covering all sectors.

These range from health and social care to logistics, housing, sales, business admin and engineering. 

While Shaun Sadler, DWP district operational leader for East Anglia, describes the job market in Cambridgeshire as "a bit of a mixed bag", he's confident the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown will "cause a natural upsurge" in employment. 

"Hopefully the announcement will instill confidence in employers and potential employees, and the timing couldn't be better because people have been practically housebound since Christmas. 

"Regardless of where you are in the country, there's a natural uplift during the warmer months anyway."

He predicts that the hospitality, leisure, non-essential retail and sports sectors will see a surge in the coming months, with people looking to book holidays in the UK. 

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"Now that we are into a rhythm, we're seeing less large-scale redundancies than we did at the start of the pandemic. This gives us more time to be able to focus on larger employers."

While 300 people will be made redundant when Alan Bartlett & Sons in Chatteris closes in June, the DWP team is "trying to work in a way that we are preventing people from reaching the register".

As well as pinpointing vacancies at Wisbech M & M Services Yard Operatives and Ely Protocol Education Behaviour Support Staff, he cites the recent Debenhams redundancies as an example of getting people back into work quickly; "we know that over 50 per-cent of those employees have gone into work." 

And, although Mr Sadler recognises that "it's incredibly tough out there", he suggests that "a recession is an employer's market, so we're trying to level off that playing field. 

Although the number of people claiming Universal Credit is "expectedly" rising, he says "we are equally seeing high levels of people declaring work".

DWP figures state that, as of January 14, there were 9,298 Universal Credit claimants in Fenland compared to 9,144 as of December 10 while.

In East Cambridgeshire, 4,707 people had submitted a claim, rising by 32 on December's figures.

"Overall for the patch, it's a trend we anticipate and expect," he added.  

"We would normally see an increase at this time of year anyway - the post-Christmas fallout. 

"We probably hit the economic upshot of that a couple of weeks earlier due to lockdown, but we are really seeing some encouraging signs."

"Our level of unemployment is considerably better than the national average - across Cambs and East Anglia," Mr Sadler added. 

"We are seeing people taking up work that's initially part-time, or lower-paid than what they would have usually received."

The roles include retail, continuous recruitment in supermarket, warehouse logistics, admin and payroll. 

"I think we're seeing a real difference in employers," he added.

"They're recognising that, just because you'd traditionally work in an office, you don't have to work in an office."

This readjustment, especially surrounding home-working, means that the DWP is helping people who may need to refresh their CV as well as "confidence-boosting about going for a job in a new world.

"People need different skills nowadays, but we're really seeing good movement."