Things can only get better, right?

Whether you're hunting for a new job or simply toying with the idea of a career change, keeping your eye on the UK job market is the way to go. The last year and a half have been a rocky period for many industries, with the pandemic impacting countless sectors. However, according to the latest report from the Office of National Statistics, things have changed for the better in recent months. To give you the job-search inspiration you've been looking for, let's take a look at some of the highlights. 

1. Employment is improving month on month

Needless to say, when COVID-19 hit, unemployment followed shortly afterwards. While many people were put on the furlough scheme, hundreds of thousands lost their jobs completely in the wake of the pandemic. However, now that the high street has reopened and life is returning to normal, employment is also up. According to the Office of National Statistics data, the number of payrolled employees increased month on month in the six months leading up to June 2021. In simple terms, that means that more people are in full or part-time positions than at the start of the year. While there's still a long way to go, it's a positive trend.

2. Job vacancies are also increasing

Looking for something new? Between March and May 2021, there were more than 700,000 job vacancies in the United Kingdom. To put that into perspective, the number was only 27,000 below the pre-COVID-19 rate. All signs point to the UK job market returning to normal as we move into the autumn and winter seasons. Of course, only time will tell whether these numbers will stay up. However, with more industries returning to their full capacity and Christmas just around the corner, chances are there will be more jobs available in the months to come. Watch this space!

If you're in the market for your next role, this is great news. Should this trend continue, it could mean that there are more opportunities available for those looking for new jobs. That means that now is a smart time to start applying for new jobs. Taking the time to get your CV in shape and line up your references is the first step. When you've done that, take a broad approach to your job search. You can look on some of the leading job sites or even check out LinkedIn and any personal connections you already have.

3. Average weekly earnings are up 

Next up, let's talk about money. According to the latest government statistics, the average weekly total pay was £578 and the average weekly regular pay was £542 in July 2021. The statistics show that the wages for workers in the United Kingdom have been climbing steadily since the start of 2020. That is good news for most of us, however, these numbers shouldn't be taken at face value. It's important to keep in mind that inflation and the general cost of living are also increasing all of the time. 

Of course, the amount that you can expect to earn will depend on the sector you're working in. The truth of the matter is that the pandemic has hit certain areas much harder than others. For example, the hospitality industry took a huge hit thanks to the series of lockdowns and other restrictions. However, some industries - such as delivery services and ecommerce - will have flourished as a result of more and more people staying home. With that in mind, it's worth looking at your industry to see what you can expect.

4. The total worked hours has increased 

While workers in salaried positions have a set number of hours, shift workers' hours can change dramatically from week to week. Since these roles are paid by the hour, the amount that workers take home can vary and depend on the shifts that they get given. According to the Office of National Statistics, the total hours worked have increased in the last quarter. That may be due to the relaxation of many of the coronavirus restrictions that were in place before now. For example, since hospitality is returning to normal, the demand for bar staff, waiting staff, and other team members is certain to have boomed over the last few months.

5. Redundancy rates are down to pre-pandemic numbers

The pandemic impacted many of the United Kingdom's business sectors, leading to a large number of redundancies. Since the outbreak started, that was bad news for workers across the country, many of whom may have felt that their jobs were on the line. However, the latest insights from the Office of National Statistics are positive. The stats show that the number of redundancies is down to a similar rate as it stood in pre-pandemic times. That means that there is better job security for workers than we have seen over the last year and a half. Whether you're looking to kickstart your career or move up the ladder, this is an encouraging sign.

The takeaway

The UK job market will take some time to recover, but the current trends are looking good. No matter where you are in your job search or career, now could be an opportune time to start applying for new roles. With things taking an upward turn, you might want to get moving and find your next big challenge. Why not get started today and take a step towards your next job?

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