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United Kingdom

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Overall score

Score by Indicator

in 2016 6.2
0 2.5 5 7.5 10

Key drivers

Talent mismatch

Businesses are finding it easier to recruit employees with the right skills, with unemployment, including long-term unemployment, falling. However, in niche high-skill areas skill shortages still persist.

Overall wage pressure

Overall wage pressure is expected to fall this year, as the growing labour force and a higher rate of inflation are forecast to cause real wages to fall, despite nominal growth.

Wage pressure in high-skill industries

Recent easing of wage pressures was more pronounced in high-skill relative to low-skill industries ICT and professional services experienced the slowest growth as wages began to stabilise.


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View from the ground

Nigel Heap, Managing Director, Hays UK

The UK economy remains relatively healthy despite the ongoing uncertainty due to Brexit and legislation, such as IR35, which is impacting on organisations’ confidence to recruit and candidate’s propensity to move. There is job growth in areas of continued investment, such as engineering and IT development/cyber security. Employers in these areas are competing for talent due to acute skill shortages and are looking for innovative ways to retain talent to enable them to remain competitive in these markets. Candidates in areas of skills shortages remain in high demand and can receive multiple job offers and counter offers. They are also commanding significant salary increases, but generally wage pressure is easing across the UK.

Nigel Heap, Managing Director, Hays UK

Country Profile

The UK economy grew faster than many expected following the June 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, although a fair amount of uncertainty about the future remains.

HM Treasury’s comparisons of independent forecasts suggest subdued growth of between 1.25 per cent and 1.75 per cent in 2017 and 2018, as uncertainty over Brexit persists.

CBI survey evidence continues to point to the availability of skilled labour being a constraint in the immediate future. However, unlike several other major economies in Europe, the UK’s working age population is growing, and the labour force participation rate is higher than it ever has been, at 78 per cent in 2016.

Key skills in demand

  • IT security architects
  • Data analysts
  • Risk analysts
  • Part-qualified accountants
  • Civil engineers

News and Press Materials

Nigel Heap, Managing Director, Hays UK