Non-core roles in UK’s retail, manufacturing and oil and energy sectors are retracting

The political and economic uncertainty of the last six months has seen British businesses shed non-core job functions to focus on roles that directly drive revenue, according to research released by online professional network, LinkedIn.

The study, based on a sample of LinkedIn’s 21 million UK members between April and October 2016, reveals a net, year-on-year fall in the number of administration (-3.7 per cent) and support (-3.4 per cent) roles in the UK. In contrast, commercially-focused business functions have grown, with product management (+4.1 per cent) and business development (+3.7 per cent) roles recording the biggest net year-on-year rises in headcount.

Businesses in the retail, manufacturing and oil and energy sector have led the charge, cutting the most administration and support roles in the last six months, LinkedIn finds.

Commenting on the findings, University of Oxford economist Dr Craig Holmes said,

“As businesses fight to remain competitive in uncertain times it is natural that they cut back on costs where they can and invest in bolstering sales of their core business.’’

LinkedIn’s data also reveals that entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and kicking in the UK, with the professional network recording a five per cent growth in the number of micro-businesses with fewer than ten employees. Holmes suggests that ‘‘this could in part be explained by British businesses’ increasing need for flexibility, as they cut some roles and drive a growth in self-employed consultants and freelancers as a result.’’

Josh Graff, UK Country Manager and VP, EMEA at LinkedIn said,

“Despite cuts to jobs, professionals in non-core roles should not feel disheartened. Our findings show that there is still a role for professionals working in these areas – albeit more flexibly than before. A change in focus for bigger businesses has given people an opportunity to strike out on their own – and it’s encouraging to see that the UK’s thriving entrepreneurial culture is showing no signs of slowing down.’’