The Monster Jobs Confidence Index, launched today by jobs board Monster.co.uk and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), shows workers and job seekers confidence in the UK labour market has dropped by 10 percentage points.
The Monster Jobs Confidence Index is a report on the key economic, environmental and cultural factors influencing worker confidence in the UK. It has been created to give a robust and holistic overview of the UK labour market and an indication of how confident workers feel, both in their ability to find a job in the short-term and their long-term career prospects. Employment numbers alone don’t give the full picture when it comes to the state of the labour market. The Index combines two macroeconomic indicators (consumer and business confidence), ten labour market indicators (unemployment, job earnings security, productivity, social mobility, pay gaps and amount of apprenticeships), and four survey based indicators (future employment confidence, career progression confidence, equality and political landscape).
What is Confidence?
In this Index, confidence is defined as how confident an individual feels about their ability to find a suitable job in the short-term, realise their career potential and build a better future for themselves.
Why has the Confidence Score fallen?
Low productivity is causing the biggest negative impact on worker and job seeker confidence, followed by a reduction in jobs vacancies and the number of apprenticeships available. Reductions in general business confidence, consumer confidence, and social mobility have also all contributed to a gloomier outlook for job seekers. However, an increase in real wage growth had a significant positive impact on worker and job seeker confidence levels, alongside increasing job earnings security. A reduction in the levels of involuntarily part time work and unemployment in the past quarter has also had a positive impact on confidence levels.
Workers in Wales and the North East are the least confident about their immediate career prospects
Consumer survey shows that across the UK only 51 per cent of respondents feel confident about their job security in the next six months. Workers in Wales and the North East are the least confident. Only 44 per cent of people in Wales said they felt confident about their job security looking ahead to the next six months. In the North East half (49 per cent) agreed with this sentiment. When asked, a third (34 per cent) of employees in Wales also felt that if they became unemployed in the next six months, they’d struggle to secure a similar or better job within a reasonable amount of time. Those in Northern Ireland however are the most confident, with nearly two thirds (61per cent) of people stating they are confident in their job security over the coming six months, with workers in Yorkshire and the Humber coming second, with 53 per cent confidence. When asked about their future career prospects over the next five years, less than half of UK employees feel confident about their ability to progress. Broken down by region, the least confident region is the North West with only 30per cent of people in the feeling confident in their career prospects in the next five years. London topped the results, but still only 44per cent believing that they will in a better position in five years’ time.
Researchers and scientists amongst sectors most concerned about employment prospects
The Monster Jobs Confidence Index demonstrates that workers in the biotech, research and development and science sectors were the least confident about their career prospects over the next six months. This could be put down to uncertainty that Brexit is having on the amount of projects receiving EU funding. However, there are some industries where the current landscape has had a positive effect on levels of confidence. When asked, 15per cent of those working in the editorial and writing sector said that they felt more confident about their employment prospects over the next six months as the public’s need for information has provided significant opportunities. When asked, workers across all sectors felt less confident about their future career prospects over the next five years due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty. However, there are exceptions to this, with workers within a couple of industries feeling positive about their opportunities over the next five years as their skills will be needed as the UK adjusts to a life post-EU. Over half of people (51 per cent) working within business and strategic management feel confident about their career developing over the next five years, whilst 39 per cent of lawyers feel the same. Meanwhile workers with STEM skills are feeling more confident about their prospects due to the industry’s need to continually evolve.
SMEs facing biggest confidence crisis
Employees at small and medium sized organisations (1-249 employees) are the least confident about their job security over the next six months, with 23 per cent saying they felt unconfident. This rose to 25 per cent for workers who are employed at micro companies (1-9 employees). In comparison over half (53 per cent) of employees at large organisations (250+ employees) are confident about their jobs in the next six months. This is largely because employees in bigger firms may feel more secure in working for a firm with a larger number of people, and therefore turnover, compared to those in smaller organisations who are concerned that short-term shocks and changes in the marketplace will have a negative impact on their employment.
Overall job seeker confidence likely to fall further in 2019
Looking forward, additional delays to establishing the terms of Brexit will cause additional uncertainty for workers and business owners – further reducing confidence in the jobs market. Continued low confidence will impact both job seekers and employers, and is likely to see low productivity levels maintained.
Louise Goodman, Marketing Director UK, Ireland and Benelux, Monster.co.uk says,
While traditional measure of labour market health, including unemployment and job vacancy levels are valuable; they are not, in themselves, enough to fully understand the complex UK labour market of 2019 and beyond. With the growth of self-employed workers and unstable work such as zero hour contracts, to fully understand the UK labour market we must look at it more holistically.
It’s worrying to see workers’ confidence in the labour market dropping. They are worried about their future prospects, and with Brexit still on the horizon, this is only set to get worse thanks to ongoing uncertainty.
Now we can see where problems exist, employers must address them to boost levels of employee confidence. There are various ways this can be done, including improving internal communications so employees are fully informed, outlining employees individual career progression routes and improving recruitment procedures by, for example, tackling unconscious bias that may exist in current processes.