FIGURES released reveal a surprise growth in job vacancies, with a steady acceleration in postings during the first quarter of the year, peaking at 134,000 jobs in March.

The end of the quarter saw the largest month-on-month gain for a year with 12% growth.

Vacancies remain significantly below peak but the current rise demonstrates a strong recovery in the job market in recent months, say experts.

John Salt, a director at, said: “We’re surprised at the pace of the recovery, but we have a lot of ground to make up before the balance tips back in favour of jobseekers.

“It is still an employer’s market, and competition for positions will remain high until jobs growth outstrips jobseeker demand.

“Our forecast for the second quarter is for a dip in activity due to Easter and the royal wedding, but we are confident that the recovery will continue and we can look forward to a period of solid growth.

“Our advice for jobseekers is to remain confident and not be daunted by the competition.”

Sector comparisons reveal that the public sector and graduate job markets are showing the largest increase in job postings compared to a year ago, up 44% and 42% respectively, from a low base, as recruitment freezes came to an end.

Manufacturing has had a healthy quarter with job postings up 28% as a result of a relatively weak pound, which has boosted exports. IT (24% increase) also experienced significant job recovery year-on-year, possible proof that the private sector is investing for the future. The number of jobs in accountancy (up 21%), customer services (up 20%) and construction (up 17%) also rose significantly over the last three months to April.