Blog post

A review of the 2018 job market

As we approach the end of the year, a lot of us consider what change we would like to see in our lives.  We’re a little bit older and a little bit wiser and sometimes that wisdom translates into frustration, especially if we don’t feel appreciated in our current job.

In fact, January is the most popular month for career changes.  Feeling underappreciated at work can stem from a number of factors, including a lack of purpose, too much pressure or a low salary.

If the pay doesn’t meet your expectations, or if you haven’t even entered the workforce yet, read on to find out about the factors affecting salaries in the UK.

The Current Labour Market

A number of trends dominated the labour market in 2018.

1. More vacancies in the north of the UK than elsewhere.  2. Construction and engineering students were most in demand.  3. Salaries were rising.

One explanation for the rising salary comes from Brexit, which affected salaries in a positive way as early as November 2015. Certain industries face a greater shortage of workers because of the fewer European Union workers immigrating to the UK and those leaving.  Luckily for the English worker though, companies were willing to offer more to attract more talented employees.

In fact, among the major concerns for employers in the UK, skill shortages and lower productivity top the list.  Since 2012, job vacancies have been rising and the number of young adults entering the workforce is actually dropping, so their concerns might seem justified. However, it depends which numbers you choose to focus on.

Female employment continues to rise (currently 71%of women work) and male employment, which saw a slight drop over the past few years, is currently at about 80%.  Furthermore, the number of English attending university is higher than ever before, despite more expensive tuition fees.  So, why are employers worried about not having enough skilled workers?

Young adults in the workforce

Those born between 1980 and 2000 (Generation Y) experienced the transition into an internet and technology dominated work environment without actually knowing what it was like before.  With more complicated equipment came the demand for more skilled candidates. Faster technology created a fast mutating economy.

For that reason, certain expectations are slightly above what employers are realistically willing to offer.  According to the Office of National Statistics, young adults are earning far less than they expected to, especially those with a degree.  In fact, they are earning £10,000 a year less than what they expected!

One explanation comes from lifelong learning, which will potentially affect us all.  As technology evolves, so will the required skills.  Companies expect necessary continuous learning for their employees, which means entry-level recruits start at the bottom (despite graduate degrees); but can rise.  By rethinking how we learn, we are also rethinking how we work.

In fact, one in eight young people without degrees work in graduate jobs.  Experience is quickly becoming a more efficient way to measure an employee’s skills. The main industries in which the salary can evolve quickly are sales, customer service or occupations such as cleaners, security guards or warehouse work, etc.

New priorities

Money isn’t everything and the millennials have understood that.  Articles on attracting millennial candidates promote flexibility, autonomy, purpose, an interesting benefits package, etc.  They are more likely to accept lower pay if it means challenging projects and more freedom.  Furthermore, much like generation Y, young adults don’t expect to stay in the same position for more than two years.

According to a study from the Pew Research Centre, this mentality doesn’t differ much from previous generations, but the consequences aren’t quite the same.

The combined effect of accepting low pay for other benefits and changing jobs frequently could explain a stagnant salary in a given position.  As mentioned before, experience within in an industry translates into expertise for most employers.  With rapid changes and diverse skill requirements for each different job, job hopping in the 21st century makes it difficult to grasp the ins and outs of a position in a particular company.

Another major change is our focus on privacy and security.  Last year, GDPR greatly affected job boards in the UK but it also changed the way many businesses handle sensitive or personal data.  Staff were required to learn about GDPR and confidentiality became a major priority everywhere.  

This can also change the responsibilities, benefits and pay a new recruit can expect when joining a team.  This continues to be an issue for companies, which use contractors and other freelance workers (according to Deloitte, 42 percent of employers worry about the loss of confidential information).

The Gig Economy

The gig economy has transformed the workforce, for better and for worse. While many embrace the new trend of more freelance workers, others fear the lack of security.  

An employer can save up to 20 or 30 percent on training and/or benefit packages by hiring freelance workers, so that can definitely play against the more traditional employee.

The rise in freelancers is a consequence of the call for more autonomy, so it does have its perks too! If you do opt for that kind of arrangement with your employer, it’s important to do your research beforehand. The other issue freelancers often face is receiving their pay on time.  Of course, as the number of freelancers rises, we can hope that that kind of issue will be fixed. In the U.S alone, 43% of the workforce will be made up of freelancers by 2020!

In Conclusion

Despite the drawbacks, high paying jobs are out there. Sometimes, it takes more perseverance than expected before actually earning your desired salary, but don’t let that deter you. Thanks to salary checkers and the abundance of information on different careers and jobs, jobseekers can safely ask for the salary they want or some other compensation. Ask and you shall receive, right?

This content was supplied by Ali Neill editor of Jobboard Finder