As with most countries in the Western World, the United Kingdom has seen its fair share of hits in the job market over the past few years. Currently, the unemployment rate is quite high for the country, but things seem to be improving for the most part.
Every three months, the Labour Force Survey asks 53,000 households their employment status. This helps to create a picture of unemployment for the country. The highest level ever seen for unemployment was 11.9 per cent in April of 1984 (outside of the Great Depression), while the lowest level of unemployment was in December of 1974 when it hit 3.4 per cent. Today, roughly 7.1 per cent, or 2.32 million people, are without work in the United Kingdom.
The Job Market Today
After several years of hard times for the UK job market, things have begun to improve with vacancies in the UK job market rising faster than at any point over the past 15 years. In addition, starting salaries have reached their highest levels in six years. This is seen as an indication of growth across the public and private sector in the country.
Things are especially good in London, which has nearly 10 times the vacancies of any other UK city. According to all reports, the London job market while other cities are rising at a much slower pace, or are in a slight decline. A study done on the rise in vacancies found that for every public sector job created in London, two were lost in other cities in the country.
Significant numbers of jobs have been created in private firms in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Liverpool, helping to offset the impact of the cuts in the public sector.
From 2010 to 2012, there were 216,000 private sector jobs and 66,300 public sector jobs created in London. Comparing this with Glasgow, it was found that that city had losses of 7,800 and 6,800 respectively. Other cities that saw jobs created by private companies included Nottingham with 8,900, Brighton with 6,400 and Aberdeen with 4,900. All three of these cities were hit with public sector cuts though, hurting employment numbers there.
In the UK, there are several employment trends that are being seen in the country. For one, a new type of jobseeker is being seen. These jobseekers do not have secure and predictable career paths. Instead, they are looking for choice, flexibility and a greater sense of opportunity. These jobseekers are not looking at their employer for job security as most have learned to trust themselves, not the company. The greatest loyalty comes from their own career development.
As for who is hiring, it seems that the health and retail sector are the two biggest employers in the UK and both have remained quite steady. The growth in technology has helped to create a boom for IT jobs, with one million specialty roles advertised.
As has already been mentioned, London is seeing a high amount of growth compared to other job markets in other cities.
Unemployment should continue to fall. From October to December of 2013, the unemployment numbers were at about 2.32 million, which was down 125,000 from what it was in July to September of 2013. In 2013, 30.2 million British subjects were employed, an increase of 396,000 over the previous year.
Another bright spot for the job market is the fact that the number of British citizens collecting unemployment benefits (a wide range of benefits) fell to 1.22 million, down 27,600.
Things are not totally rosy for the future though. Wages, adjusted for inflation, have continued to fall. Between 2009 and 2013, real monthly wages only increased two times, and no more than by four per cent. In every other month, the wage levels fell. In early 2009, wages fell by 10 per cent when adjusted for inflation. In December of 2013, it fell by .5 per cent when compared with one year previous.
Overall, things are moving up from what was seen in 2013. In April of last year, there were 30 people for nearly every job in some locations and a new Tesco store opening in Hampshire received 4,300 applications for only 150 jobs.
Things are beginning to improve in the United Kingdom as the UK job market slowly moves back up after the recession that hit the world in 2006-2008. While there are still many without employment, numbers are well down the record numbers seen 30 years ago, and should keep climbing back up over the coming months and years.