THE uncertainty surrounding the fourth general election in nine years has led to a significant drop in jobs being advertised in Southampton, research suggests.

An online jobs board says November saw a 14 per cent month-on-month reduction in vacancies being advertised.

Across the south east, advertisements were down by 12 per cent on October, according to CV-Library.

But salaries in Southampton rose sharply – up 22.4 per cent month-on-month and up 22.9 per cent on the same month in 2018.

Southampton Itchen is the fifth most marginal political seat in the country. In 2017, Conservative Royston Smith beat Labour’s Simon Letts by just 31 votes – a majority of 0.1 per cent. Southampton Test was much safer territory for Labour, with Alan Whitehead enjoying a majority of 11,508, or 24.6 per cent, over the Tories.

Lee Biggins, CEO and founder of CV-Library, said: “Southampton is already an ultra-marginal political area, with Conservatives only holding the seat by a majority of 31.

“Combine this with the divisive topics fuelling this general election and it becomes impossible for anyone to predict an outcome.

“With so much uncertainty around the future of UK policy, companies have no choice but to hold back on hiring new talent and this isn’t unusual at this time of year.

“However, it’s not all bad news for job seekers. Many employers are still working harder to entice candidates to their roles, resulting in rising salaries across the city.

“In addition to this, we also expect to see job advertisement figures jump up massively in the New Year, making now an ideal time to start preparing for your job search.”

Applications for jobs also fell by 11.8 per cent in November compared with the previous month. A similar trend was reported across the south east, with applications down 11.3 per cent.

Mr Biggins added: “It is important to remember that while these numbers are certainly exacerbated by the current political climate, this time of year is usually slower for recruitment across the board. If you are thinking about finding a new job in 2020, be sure to update your CV, showcase it in the right places and start brushing up on your interview techniques. That way, you’ll be ready to make the most of the January recruitment rush.”