Of the 1.5 million permanent and temporary/contracting jobs posted on the EC-commissioned jobs portal EURES, over half are located in the UK, new figures reveal.

The figures have prompted business minister Matthew Hancock to remind UK employers that they have a “social duty” to appoint locally.

To be precise, of 1,496,974 roles advertised on EURES yesterday morning, 819,855 were based in the UK. Germany’s employers posted just 266,468 by comparison, a mere one-third of the UK total.

Vacancies cover a broad span of industries and occupations, and include permanent openings as well as fixed-term roles for skilled Umbrella Company Employees and other professional freelancers. While there were relatively unskilled jobs available, such as hourly-paid cleaning roles, others called for considerable expertise, such as a Coventry based project manger position paying £50,000 a year.

After Germany, no other EU country has posted in excess of 100,000 jobs. Belgium came third in the billings league table with 78,419 vacancies; Spain, reflecting the uncertain state of its economy and jobs market, posted zero vacancies, while Greece posted a surprising 3,965 – over 20 times the 196 posted by the much more economically-buoyant Denmark.

During an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme last week, Mr Hancock said that he believed UK employers, where necessary, should train British workers to take up the vacancies on offer, even if this was at the cost of a little profit. He added: “I’m arguing that it is companies’ social responsibility, it is their social duty, to look at employing locally first.”

Mr Hancock’s comments reflect the fact that all vacancies advertised in UK jobs centres must also be posted for EU-wide perusal on EURES.

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