Advertised salaries start to rebound as employer confidence returns

Aspire To Aspire

Average advertised salaries across the UK are beginning to rebound as employer confidence returns to the jobs market, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from

The UK average salary for an advertised position rose for just the second time in ten months, as December saw the average position offer £33,322. This marked a 0.6% monthly rise from £33,118 in November, building on the 0.2% rise seen the month before.

This increase between November and December has been the result of a culmination of contributory factors, namely jobseekers finally benefitting from rising wages for existing workers, a reduction in the number of advertised lower paid jobs and companies being forced to adapt to the rise of flexible self-employment options.

Overall, the number of advertised vacancies available in December stood at 1,164,502 – down 6.4% month-on-month from 1,244,772 in November. Although, Adzuna says, some seasonal dip is expected in December, the size of the fall witnessed this year is much greater than historic monthly movements in advertised vacancies of +1.9% in December 2014, -3.1% in December 2013 and -1.7% in December 2012. The company claim that the drop suggests that a focus on retaining employees and investment in upskilling is now having a real impact upon hiring intentions.

Table 1:

November 2015 December 2015 Monthly


Annual change from December 2014
UK Vacancies 1,244,772 1,164,502 -6.4% +20.3%
Jobseekers per Vacancy 0.52 0.54 +3.7% -35.7%
Av. Advertised UK Salary £33,118 £33,322 +0.6% -3.5%

Meanwhile, the ratio of jobseekers to vacancies worsened in the final month of 2015. In December, job competition increased by 3.7% to 0.54, from 0.52 the previous month. Since December 2014, job competition has reduced 35.7% from 0.85 jobseekers per vacancy.

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, commented, “Rising advertised salaries are a strong sign of optimism for jobseekers. While wages for those in work have been rising, jobseekers have struggled to benefit recently, and the last year has seen starting salaries fall. December marks a real turning point, and advertised salaries may bounce back at long last over the next couple of months.

“Increasing advertised salaries reveal a returning confidence within the jobs market – for jobseekers this is fantastic news. October and November brought increased numbers of lower paid positions into the jobs market, bringing down average salaries. Now, in December these roles have been filled, resulting in a prospective salary rise for job hunters seeking new work.

“Alongside this, self-employment options, offering advantages such as flexibility and increased control are playing their part in tempting employees away from the 9 to 5 routine. For employers, this means they have to adapt and be prepared to pay a fair wage in exchange for hours and effort.

“However, while advertised salaries are increasing, it’s a different story for vacancies. There are many more jobs than this time last year, but December saw an unexpected dip. More than a seasonal drop, this suggests that companies are needing to hire fewer staff. In a year of retention, retention, retention it seems employees are committing to their companies for the long-run. This dip may be a temporary blip, as January looks set to see a burst of new vacancies – particularly of graduate roles. And employers should be set for tough competition to win over the top talent.”

Advertised salaries saw a 0.6% monthly rise in December, however, on a yearly basis, advertised salaries decreased in all UK regions – with the North East seeing the largest drop.

The North East overtook both Scotland and London, as the average advertised salary in the region fell to £29,093 – declining by 5.3% across a twelve-month period. Scotland and London followed closely behind, with average advertised salaries falling 5.2% to stand at £31,283 and £39,988 respectively.

Meanwhile, the South East of England proved the best performing UK region, withstanding large declines to record a minimal fall in average advertised salaries of 1.5%. The region has the second highest UK average advertised pay, with an average of £32,167 offered across available positions.

Monro said, “It’s been a difficult year for the North East’s job market. For an area dependent on industry, tough times in the manufacturing sector have had a knock-on effect. And other sector areas haven’t picked up the slack in order to cover job losses. The region appears to have been overshadowed by the North West when it comes to initiatives aimed at improving employment and skills.

“The area remains amongst the worst in the UK for unemployment and there aren’t many signs of this changing. Many young people in the area are undoubtedly moving south in order to find better opportunities and this is depriving the area of some of its best talent and skills.

“However, for the South East it’s a much more positive outlook. The area is benefitting hugely from its proximity to London, as investment in technology and science hubs, such as Cambridge transform the region into an economic force in its own right. For jobseekers, it’s the second highest region for advertised salaries in the UK and continues to power ahead.”

Table 2: UK regions by average advertised salary

Region Average Salary Annual Salary Change
North East England £29,093 -5.3%
London £39,988 -5.2%
Scotland £31,283 -5.2%
UK Average £33,322 -3.5%
North West England £29,992 -3.3%
South West England £30,687 -3.2%
Eastern England £31,415 -2.7%
Northern Ireland £29,092 -2.6%
East Midlands £29,615 -2.5%
West Midlands £30,648 -2.3%
Yorkshire & the Humber £29,976 -2.3%
Wales £29,286 -1.9%
South East England £32,167 -1.5%

The report found that as firms prioritise retaining employees in order to reduce permanent recruiting needs, both consultancy and HR jobs are seeing significant advertised salary increases. Consultancy jobs finished the year with an average advertised salary of £49,626, up 11.1% annually from £44,687 in December 2014. Only customer service roles saw a higher annual growth rate of 15% during the last twelve months.

Alongside this, advertised salaries for HR & recruitment positions reached £30,598, increasing by 4.2% from £29,370 – with employers increasingly focusing on keeping employees pleased. Completing the line-up of biggest improving advertised salaries in December, were logistics and warehouse jobs (+9.6%), which also saw large increases in November alongside domestic help & cleaning jobs (+5.1%).

Monro stated, “Employers are coming up to speed with the idea that keeping staff happy and making sure they stay put is key for a successful business. Staff continuity can be a real asset and it’s down to HR departments to deliver on this. Over the last year, there’s been a real uptake in the number of HR positions available and increasing salaries for these roles prove that a happy workforce has become top of the to-do list for senior managers.

“It’s not just retention that’s been boosting pay prospects for potential jobseekers. As companies struggle with hiring permanent staff – due to the skills shortage – consultants have seen a hike in average advertised salaries. More and more companies are relying on consultants to fill vacant senior positions. The industry is highly flexible and as it become more in demand, consultants looking for work can demand higher salaries.

“This may seem to spell bad news for jobseekers. But it means that candidates have to make a determined effort to build up their skills, and new trends within the jobs market are always emerging.”

Table 3: Biggest improvers – job sectors by average salary

Job Sector  Average salary Salary % 12 Month Change
Customer service jobs £24,953 +15.0%
Consultancy jobs £49,626 +11.1%
Logistics & warehouse jobs £31,922 +9.6%
Domestic help & cleaning jobs £22,822 +5.1%
HR & recruitment jobs £30,598 +4.2%

The social work sector entered the list of the worst improving industries in December, as average advertised salaries stood at £31,327, falling 5.8% year-on-year from £33,244 in December 2014.

Table 4: Worst improvers – job sectors by average salaries

Job Sector  Average salary Salary % 12 Month Change
Energy oil & gas jobs £39,853 -13.7%
Legal jobs £40,002 -10.9%
 Healthcare & nursing jobs £34,255 -10.3%
Social work jobs £31,327 -5.8%
Graduate jobs £25,088 -5.6%

Monro said, “Social workers, and the sector as a whole, are both under intensifying scrutiny. As a result of this extra attention and a string of bad publicity, it’s harder than ever to attract the right candidates for these vital positions – and falling pay won’t help.

“Long hours and dealing with difficult cases make social work a demanding industry and it isn’t usually associated with a large pay packet. To see a fall in advertised pay is disheartening for an industry, which now, more than ever needs to be hiring and hiring the right people.

“And there’s more bad news for the sector. Speculation over the continuation of bursaries for social work students makes it more unlikely that the industry will tempt the caring and dedicated staff it needs. With the government looking set to prioritise fast-track training, it will be interesting to see whether this solves staffing problems in the industry. Or rather, signals further challenges ahead.”

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