Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, employment remains firm in the UK, with well over 1mn job vacancies in mid-November. Unemployment dropped to 4.3% as companies boosted hiring efforts after increased Covid restrictions ended. That figure will likely rise once December 2021 figures are made public due to the expected end-of-year holiday season hiring.
Christmas typically results in a surge of temporary positions and work offers for specialised professionals. Here, we delve into the most popular vacancies currently on the UK job market, the available roles, and what you’d need to land yourself a position.
One of the sectors that have been at the forefront of the news in recent months is transport. It’s clear that there’s an HGV driver shortage in the UK. Despite recent improvements, the sector is still short 80,000 drivers in 2021. If you’re looking to redirect your career, you’ll need a full drivers license before you can start working towards your Driver PCP. Pay is rewarding, with an average UK salary of £34,798.
In addition to driver positions, you can expect to find many warehousing picking jobs, which usually don’t require experience and pay around £10 per hour.
Popular sector employers include Gist, Greggs, Travis Perkins, Procter and Gamble, Amazon, Argos, and Wickes.
It’s no surprise that retail is one of the biggest December employers. Companies boost hiring this time of year to ensure they can meet demand during the Christmas holidays. Generally, contracts are temporary, but some can be extended and turned into full-time positions.
The most in-demand roles are retail sales and customer service positions in supermarkets and high-street retailers. Depending on the role, you won’t need experience to land a position, and it can be a great stepping stone to find higher-paying sales jobs at estate agents or tech companies.
In addition to sales roles, there are many management positions available, which you can enter through a development programme or by working up from a customer service position. A supermarket retail assistant will earn around £19,000, while a sales executive at a high-end retailer could earn up to £30,000 with commission.
The covid-19 pandemic continues to help boost demand for software engineering and development positions in the UK. As more companies continue to digitise their services, IT professionals will continue to be in demand. It’s important to note that most shortages are for experienced professionals.
Graduate positions are still sought after but not as readily available compared with more senior roles. Typically, you’ll need to know programming languages and other specialisations to land a position. These can be self-taught or done through a degree - either a three-year bachelor or a one-year conversion after doing an unrelated course. Salaries in software engineering are among the best in the country, with the average pay at £38,257. That figure rises significantly in London and for tech firms.
What to expect from the UK job market in 2022
Demand is expected to grow in the new year, as customer demand after Covid restrictions has rebounded quicker than initially expected. Remote work conditions will likely continue, mainly due to the risk of new variants resulting in further lockdowns.
Companies are also expected to be more flexible to reduce employee churn rates, as the pandemic has led many workers to prioritise work-life balance.
It’s important to note that if you’re planning to change careers, you should do thorough research and consider how the change will affect you and your family. You can learn more about changing careers in detail by checking our in-depth guide.
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