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FRESH FRIDAYS: It’s not all doom and gloom

by Bryony Cullen July 28, 2014

As I'm sure you have seen, the news has been abuzz in recent weeks with reports examining the state of the UK's employment. Although these present a rather mixed bag, these changing trends can in fact spell out new opportunities,  providing a welcome break from all of the doom and gloom we’ve become accustomed to when reading about employment in the press!

So what are the reports saying?

At first glance they seem positive, official figures show that UK unemployment fell by 121,000 to 2.12 million from February to May. This figure is the lowest level in nearly six years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the employment rate coming in at 73.1%.

The future is also looking bright for graduates leaving university, figures produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 92.1% of university leavers were in employment or further study six months after graduating in 2012-13, which is up 90.8% from last year. This is the largest year-on-year rise in graduate employment since 2008-09, when graduate employment reached a low of 89.9%.  When compared to pre-recession levels of around 94%, it looks like employment prospects are on the up!

Although this paints a pretty rosy picture, it was also reported that wage growth has slowed down, with the latest figures showing that wage rises (including bonuses) are at their lowest since 2009, and when you exclude bonuses, average wage increases are the lowest they've been since 2001.

So what do these reports really mean?

It’s clear that although new jobs are being created, these are a new type of job than experienced by previous generations. So times are changing...

The reports are testament to the fact that we have moved away from a time when the "job" can be seen as a discrete fixture that occupies a set amount of hours a week, in a set location, with predictable tasks. It is also clear that it is no longer likely that you can confidently map out your career path for the next 40 years. Here at FreshMinds, this has had a big effect on our Interim Team as contracting is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to work, especially those who want flexibility over their workload.

An interesting trend that Educational Advisor Heather McGowan has identified is that jobs have begun to move in three directions:

  • UP - there has been a surge in jobs that require more education and technical knowledge

  • DOWN - a number of jobs have been confined to history i.e. taken over by technology

  • ACROSS - jobs are becoming fragmented (people change jobs more frequently and freelance work is more popular

This changing job landscape also means that there has been a change in the way people make their money, and as a result a rise in companies that offer opportunities to generate extra income. This can take many different forms, providing people with ways to leverage and monetise their physical assets and talents. Common examples include:

Of course there are many industries and jobs that remain unchanged, but it’s interesting to see the statistics and figures brought to life in the way society is evolving.

If you’re considering working in a more flexible way, our interim team are always on the lookout for exceptional individuals with a consulting skill set. Learn more about Interim team or apply to join our network to hear about potential opportunities.

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