The first week of 2018 has seen a record 54,000 new jobs being advertised, a 20% increase from the same week last year

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As 1 in 5 employees are already looking for a new job, it seems there is no better time to do so as Britain’s job market continues to thrive in the first week of 2018. A record 54,000 jobs were advertised on totaljobs alone between the 1st and 7th of January 2018, 9,000 (20%) more than the same period last year.

Among the fastest moving sectors, Travel, Leisure & Tourism (+53%) and Customer Services (+42%) had the most growth. Although the Banking and Finance sector has been mired with Brexit uncertainty, the UK saw a 10% increase in the number of jobs advertised in the sector and 1,000 extra engineering roles advertised on totaljobs.

The picture looks positive across all regions of the UK in terms of the number of available jobs in the first week of 2018. The North West and London were amongst the strongest, with 27% and 38% more roles advertised year-on-year respectively.

There has been a rapid growth in key industries in London which include education (+112%) and travel and tourism (61%) which were in-line with UK-wide trends. In the North West there has been notable growth in telecommunications with a 63% increase and 21% increase in banking and 12% increase in technology.

David Clift, HR Director at totaljobs said, “Despite political and economic uncertainty, the UK job market thrived in 2017 with unemployment reaching its lowest level in 42 years. Our data suggests that this momentum is set to continue into 2018, with 20% more jobs available now than a year ago. The good news for people looking to make their next career move is that there is a wide choice of vacancies available, right across the UK.”

Employers looking to retain their staff during this notorious period of change may need to look at how they communicate their total remuneration packages. GRiD research found that only a fifth of organisations discuss group risk benefits at the interview stage, which effectively downplays the overall benefits package luring staff to seemingly more lucrative packages elsewhere.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “Employees and interview candidates may well assume that an organisation is communicating the best possible total remuneration package available to them in order to attract and keep them – but if the package doesn’t appear to be competitive, the individual is likely to look elsewhere for employment”

GRiD also warns employers to alter HR jargon such as the term group risk to language employees better understand, by using the constituent product terms – life insurance, income protection and critical illness- employees will be able to gain a better understanding of what is being offered.

“Group risk products represent great value for money in terms of a recruitment and retention tool – they are fairly low cost to offer, with high returns and great added value benefits for individuals. In addition, protection products are clearly very useful at difficult times in people’s lives, so they can also be deployed to demonstrate that the organisation cares about both the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of its employees.” Moxham added.

2018 employment trends

As employers display confidence by advertising more jobs in all corners of the UK, totaljobs expects three trends to continue to dominate the wider employment landscape in 2018.

Improving productivity in the workplace

ONS data indicates that UK productivity levels are amongst the lowest in the G7, with the GDP output of the UK economy currently sitting 20% lower than pre-recession trends forecasted it would.

Both employers and employees need to assess the causes of poor productivity and find ways of improving their individual performance.

As a major focus of the UK’s recent industrial strategy whitepaper, the government expects that companies will look to artificial intelligence as a potential fix for productivity problems. The outcome of this, though beneficial to productivity, could impact employment, with totaljobs research showing that 1 in 5 UK workers are worried that their job will be replaced.

Closing the skills gap

The outcome of ongoing Brexit negotiations will continue to shape the nature of the British workforce. Businesses have already warned that potential changes to the free movement of labour could widen an already growing skills gap. The construction industry is particularly concerned about the implications on the sector as it is heavily reliant on EU nationals.

Budding trends, designed to resolve the issue, include the gig economy, with totaljobs research signalling that two in three employers expect the importance of contract and freelance workers to continue to grow in 2018 as they struggle to plug the skills gap.

A more equal and diverse workforce

With all companies over 250 employees needing to report their gender pay gap by 4th April 2018, we anticipate employees will demand more of their employers in redressing gender inequality this year.

A totaljobs report in 2016 revealed that a quarter of women believe that men are paid more for carrying out the same job.

Once companies have confronted their issues, they will need to go about fixing them to regain their teams’ trust and avoid widespread resignations as female employees look for equally paying roles.

Businesses should begin to think about how they will close their pay gap and clearly explain these steps to staff so that it does not affect employee engagement.

We also expect further questions on pay equality to be asked by an aging workforce, ethnic minorities and LGBT+ staff.

David said:

“2018 will be an interesting year for employment, with a number of major changes set to rock pre-conceived notions on their head. Employees are now in a position to make bolder choices thanks to favourable employment levels and are making their voices heard. 2018 will also be the year to rectify a number of long lasting issues, such as gender inequality and lagging productivity. This is definitely a year to watch and we’re positive it will another strong year for both employers and employees.”