Vanishing Vets: Veterinary surgeon is the hardest job to fill in the UK

Veterinary surgeon jobs are the hardest roles to fill in the UK1, according to new analysis by the world’s largest job site Indeed.

Over half (52%) of veterinary surgeon jobs posted on Indeed stay on the site for more than 60 days, meaning they are classified as ‘hard to fill’. By contrast, just 16% of all job postings on Indeed are classified as ‘hard to fill’.

The 10 hardest to fill UK jobs 

RankJob title% of posts hard to fillAverage annual salary
1Veterinary surgeon51.9%£46,300
2Optometrist48.7%£52,300
3Senior auditor45.5%£37,200
4Animator45.1%£35,000
5HGV technician42.2%£33,700
6Veterinary nurse41.8%£22,800
7Senior software engineer40.2%£58,000
8Estate agent40.0%£26,700
9Programmer36.5%£34,300
10Development operations engineer35.2%£63,100


Many of the jobs featured in the top 10 are high-skilled roles that require many years of education, training and experience. Three of the hardest to fill roles are technology jobs highlighting the difficulty many employers face finding candidates with cutting edge skills.

The fact that so many of these roles require years of training may also explain why many of the top 10 pay average salaries far higher than the UK median annual pay of £31,2853

One of the hardest to fill jobs in 2021 is HGV technician, with two in five vacancies (42%) classed as hard to fill. 

The UK has faced a chronic shortage of qualified HGV drivers this year, disrupting deliveries of fuel and food to supermarkets. At the same time, the sector has long faced a shortage of technicians as its ageing workforce steadily retires, leaving behind a demand for skilled staff4

Estate agents also feature in the list, with 40% of their vacancies classified as hard to fill. The inclusion of estate agents comes in a year that the property market has boomed, with sales hitting record highs in the summer2. It suggests that some estate agencies may not have been able to recruit fast enough during the busiest periods this year. 

Bill Richards, UK managing director at global job site Indeed, comments:

“Our list reveals that for some employers, the staffing crisis hasn’t emerged overnight. The top spots on our ranking are all roles that have been hard to fill for several years.

“These ‘usual suspects’ typically require people with specialist skills and advanced qualifications – which in many cases take years to acquire. And they all have one thing in common – there aren’t enough qualified candidates to go around, meaning up to half of vacancies take over two months to fill.

“While these long-term staff shortages rarely make headlines, the lack of HGV drivers has jumped to the top of the news agenda this year. The shortage of HGV technicians – who are just as vital to keep deliveries flowing – is also a worrying development.

“Both are specialised roles that are hard to fill, spelling more trouble for the logistics industry that so many other sectors rely on.”

Author: Editorial Team

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