A strong labour market has seen the UK employment rate reach its highest level since records began in 1971, but which industries are fuelling this growth?
At the beginning of the year, the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) reported that 51 per cent of businesses were planning to grow their workforce in 2018; in addition, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reported that 67 per cent of staffing agencies in the UK were forecasting revenue growth over the same period. Which sectors are behind this growth and will it continue?
According to Health Education England, the NHS needs a further 42,000 nurses, midwives and therapists and has warned that the industry will need to increase its workforce by 190,000 by 2027. The demand for healthcare professionals is therefore growing at a rapid pace and shows no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.
This year is the ‘Year of Engineering’, according to the UK government, which is designed to raise awareness and increase the number of young people joining the profession in the hope of filling the skills gap. Retiring engineers are outpacing graduate engineers and there is a demand for 69,000 apprenticeship-standard qualified engineers each year. Job security and stability is very positive, with the most active sectors proving to be pharmaceuticals, plastics/petrochemicals, speciality chemicals, and the food/agriculture chemicals sectors.
A rise in cybercrime in 2017 means that the UK needs more cybersecurity professionals; however, recruitment agencies do not believe these demands will be met in 2018 unless significant changes are made. A survey carried out by the REC last year revealed that 81 per cent of recruitment agencies think demand will increase significantly throughout the year, making it a good time to be skilled in this area as recruitment agencies look to attract more candidates.
With growth in manufacturing at a 30-year high, it is not difficult to see why this sector is in need of new professionals. The CBI has said that recovering eurozone economies, combined with a weak pound, is behind the export growth. Back in October 2017, the CBI claimed that the number of manufacturing companies stating they had a shortage of workers was at a four-year high.
The demand within this sector is incredibly high. Due to skills shortages, many businesses are now having to rely on contractors rather than permanent employees; in addition, businesses are more commonly looking for niche tech skills – such as data scientists – so that they are better able to adapt to a fintech space that is rapidly changing.
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