UK job market stands strong in six months following Brexit

Job vacancies, candidate applications and advertised salaries continue to rise in the months following Brexit, a new study reveals.

The UK’s jobs market has continued to strengthen in the six months post-EU Referendum, as jobs vacancies rose, applications soared and salaries continued to increase at a steady rate, according to new data from CV-Library.

Analysing data from 23rd June 2016 to 30th November 2016, and comparing this with the same time periods in 2015 and 2014, the findings from CV-Library reveal that jobs have increased significantly. In fact, vacancies have risen by 12 per cent when compared to the same period in 2015 and 35 per cent on 2014. Alongside this, certain cities and sectors saw above average growth when comparing year-on-year data.

Brexit caused massive uncertainty

Furthermore, while the immediate aftermath of Brexit caused panic across the UK, especially with the value of the pound dropping significantly, the findings show that between the 23rd June and 30th June 2016, vacancies were actually up by 17 per cent on the previous year, while applications also rose by a comfortable 7 per cent.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, thinks that it’s extremely positive to see that the UK’s labour market has stood strong in the face of ongoing uncertainty.

Biggins says, ‘The summer months tend to be a quieter time in the recruitment sector but this year, July, August and September all saw particularly strong growth, with November being one of the top months for jobs growth nationwide. This is a nice indication that businesses are confident about growing their workforce and it is hoped that this will continue well into 2017.’

Applications for jobs are on the rise

The data also reveals that applications during this period were up by 2 per cent on 2015, with certain sectors witnessing a significant jump in applications. Most notably, manufacturing (up 18 per cent), agriculture (up 17 per cent) and automotive (up 16 per cent) all saw a considerable hike in applications, which is interesting given that there is ambiguity around what Brexit might mean for these key industries.

However, the findings also show that some of the UK’s key cities saw substantial drops in applications, when comparing data with 2015. In fact, Bristol (down 18 per cent), Aberdeen (down 18 per cent), Cardiff (down 17 per cent) and Brighton (down 13 per cent) saw the biggest falls, suggesting that candidate confidence was not as widespread as originally anticipated.

Biggins continues, ‘The automotive, manufacturing and agriculture industries were predicted to be hit hard by a UK Brexit, given that they rely heavily on the free movement of European labour. But our findings indicate that candidates are still looking for new opportunities, providing a strong pipeline of talent for organisations to tap into and ensure that business output across the UK remains strong.

‘And, while some cities saw drops in candidate appetite, this shouldn’t ring too many alarm bells: we often see a summer slowdown, which is likely what’s bringing the figures down, and hope that this will pick back up in the New Year.’

Salaries are also on the rise

According to the data, it is clear that businesses are continuing to invest in their workforces, with average salaries increasing by 2 per cent since 2015 and 3 per cent since 2014. This steady growth suggests that despite there being economic pressures across the UK, businesses are remaining confident.

What’s more, in the week following the EU Referendum, salaries rose by 4 per cent, indicating that businesses were still looking to invest in their future and existing workforce during this time.

Biggins concludes, ‘The fact that organisations across the UK are continuing to offer fair and competitive salaries is reassuring to many job hunters looking for work. It is, however, uncertain how salaries will fare throughout the year ahead. Pay expectations are already weak, and as inflation moves up we can expect a period of low or negative wage growth for the squeezed middle.

‘The implication of Brexit for employers is still unclear – particularly in terms of access to migrant labour and a dent in consumer and business confidence. What we do know is that formal negotiations will not be taking place until the early part of next year, so the nation will have to continue to sit tight and wait with bated breath.’

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