The United Kingdom Slowly Rouses From Recession, Offering Manufacturing Jobs and Hope for New College Grads
by Mary Anne Thompson, Founder and President, Going Global, Inc.
The road back to economic prosperity may be a long one for the UK, but certain
job sectors are hiring and help wanted ads are posted. Many experts feel there is finally
reason to be cautiously optimistic about Britain’s future.
After enjoying a 15-year period of expansion, the United Kingdom was hard hit in 2008 by the
global economic slowdown. Tight credit, falling home prices and record unemployment pushed
Britain into a severe recession that is only now beginning to ease. Hope for recovery have started
to grow as certain job sectors show improvements, but the fear of inflation and interest rate hikes
temper overall enthusiasm for a painless and quick UK recovery.
Some evidence points to the fact that things may get worse before they get better. It is predicted
unemployment will continue to rise from 7.9 to 9 percent over this year, which translates into
80,000 private sector and 120,000 public sector jobs in danger of being lost. Any jobs created
will likely be part time or temporary, and workers can expect below-inflation pay raises of only 2
percent. The harsh realities of the jobs market in the UK have caused many workers to focus on
retraining, up-skilling and gaining on-the-job experience – all of which can prove beneficial in
securing future permanent employment.
Britain’s services sector may reveal the most accurate reflection of the country’s troubled
economy. Britain’s service companies, which account for three quarters of national output, are
still cutting staff due to declining sales.
However, all of the UK employment news isn’t negative. A recent survey revealed nearly half of
the companies surveyed plan to freeze salaries this year, but another 45 percent said they plan to
increase pay, leaving only five percent planning to cut salaries.
Economists believe the UK’s greatest chance for recovery lies in its manufacturing sector. The
manufacturing industry has recently begun to perform better than it has in 16 years, and experts
say this is due to a growing global demand resulting in rising exports. Other industry sectors
showing promise include finance, business services and utilities. The sectors with the weakest
hiring intentions continue to be retail and construction.
Another particularly bright spot in a generally less optimistic jobs outlook is the sharp increase in
university graduate hiring by Britain’s top employers. A recent survey finds employers will hire
nearly 18 percent more graduates this year than they did last year. This increase restores more
than half the openings that were cut over the previous two years. While most industry sectors are
hiring new graduates, the most openings are in accounting, investment banking and the public
sector. Salaries for new graduates are also up this year.
Long-term recruitment growth continues, forming another positive trend in the UK. Experts
say the pace of job creation over the past two quarters has been faster than at any time since the
1980s. The sectors registering the most positive activity include IT, legal and R&D. London
registered the most help-wanted activity, showing a rise of 26 percent from last year. The city’s
greatest needs are in the areas of IT and professional services. Other professions that will be
most in demand over the year include chief financial officer, accountant, city risk specialist,
energy engineer/green technologist, HR manager, lawyer, teacher and medical liaison officer.
Regionally, employers in New South Wales show the most optimistic intentions to hire, while
employers in Scotland are the least likely to add staff in the near future.
Though some economic warning bells still ring throughout the UK, there is burgeoning hope that
a recovery, albeit a very slow one, is finally underway. Inflation is threatening once again, and
UK economists wrestle with rising costs and continued high unemployment, but manufacturing
and several other sectors provide hope for the country that job creation is on the rise. Young
college graduates and those working hard to gain new skills and education may be in a better
position now than they have been in several years.
Tips for a successful job interview in the UK
There are numerous types of interviews in the United Kingdom (see below). Thus, it is
a good idea to ask the interviewer about the interview format ahead of time. The less
surprises on the big day, the better.
Start the interview on a positive note and arrive a few minutes early. Plan to arrive 15
minutes before the scheduled interview time.
Many interviews will begin with the interviewer offering the applicant refreshments such
as coffee, tea or water. One is free to accept or decline, but it can be helpful to have a
glass of something handy during the interview. It is not uncommon for a person to talk
himself or herself out of a job in the UK by talking too much. A sip of water requires a
United Kingdom Protocol and Business Etiquette
The British strive for loyalty and integrity, and appreciate directness.
It is important to remember that there is a strong anti-discrimination culture backed by
Brits also take an understated approach to relationships until they are well established.
Assuming charge or giving strong opinions is acceptable in the appropriate
circumstances, but it is often more productive for an employee to take a diplomatic
approach until he proves himself.
The British workplace is often still management-centered, but there is an increasing
awareness of the issues of management vs. leadership approaches, and employees are
increasingly encouraged to contribute as team players.
Recommended Job Sites
Goinglobal provides career and employment resources for 80 worldwide locations with constantly
updated information on: employment outlooks, hiring trends, salary ranges, resume and CV examples,
interview and cultural advice, professional and social networking groups, work permit and visa
regulations and more. Also included are H1B visa employer listings, corporate profiles and more than
one million job and internship listings. The unlimited access database is researched by in-country career
experts. Individual, university and corporate access plans are available.
1Job.co.uk enables job hunters to search and directly link through to recruitment agencies’ job
advertisements, employers’ job advertisements and job board job advertisements appearing on
websites throughout the UK and Ireland. Using unique technology and processing algorithms,
high-speed robot crawlers search the web to find thousands of new job vacancies each day. The
search engine allows job seekers to search by industry, county or town, as well as by keywords.
JobCentre Plus is a government agency (part of the Department for Work and Pensions)
supporting people of working age from welfare into work and helping employers to fill
vacancies. Its interactive search engine helps the job hunter to choose between industries,
location, skills and various job titles. The website also provides information on government
benefits available to the unemployed (Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support) plus
information on available training programs. In addition, Jobseeker Direct allows telephone
access to job information for those without computer access.
Employment4students.co.uk Ltd was set up in 2000, after the introduction of university tuition
fees, to provide a facility for students to find term time and holiday jobs. It lists internship
positions available in the country.
Mary Anne Thompson is the Founder and President of Going Global, Inc.
(www.goinglobal.com) a subscription database service that contains career and employment
information for more than 80 locations. More than one million users enjoy Going Global’s
unique content, which is researched in-country by local career experts and updated annually.
She is also an author, lecturer and frequent guest on various media outlets, including NBC
and CNN International. Previously, Mary Anne served as an attorney and advisor to President
Ronald Reagan in the White House.