There has been a clear drop in confidence in the UK labour market among workers and job seekers according to The Monster Jobs Confidence Index. Indeed, the index created by Monster.co.uk and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) has dropped to its lowest since 2014 and now stands at 61 per cent, down from 64 per cent in the last quarter.
The significant drop is due to increasing signs of a weakening labour market – growth in the number of job vacancies has started to slow down, with a drop of 1.4 per cent since this time last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. The UK’s volatile political landscape is also having a substantial impact on levels of jobs confidence. Over a third (35 per cent) of UK workers believe that the current political landscape is making them feel less confident about their current and future employment prospects
Whilst levels of jobs confidence have started to drop, real wages have grown 1.8 per cent since the same period last year – the highest it’s been since 2016. Perceived job earnings security has also seen the biggest increase in sentiment since the start of the year, with the index showing that the share of workers reporting that they have no regular pay has fallen to 7.7 per cent – a 0.6 per cent decrease in three months.
People in Yorkshire and the Humber are the most confident in the country. Over half (56 per cent) said they are confident about their employment prospects over the next six months. In comparison, only 45 per cent in the East of England share the same view, making it the region with the least amount of jobs confidence.
However, unemployment levels are growing wider between the north and the south of the country compared to this time last year. The North East currently has the highest unemployment rate (5.3 per cent), whilst the South West has the lowest (2.7 per cent). A year earlier, the North East had an unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent, and in the South West, the rate was at 3.0 per cent.
The latest Monster Jobs Confidence Index finds that recent school leavers and graduates who are just entering the workforce feel less pessimistic about the country’s political climate than more experienced workers. 67 per cent of graduates who left university in the last two years say that they feel confident about their career prospects and ability to progress in the next five years. The comparable statistic for people who left three or more years ago is 47 per cent.
With continued uncertainty around Brexit and ongoing discussions around a possible general election, it’s expected that confidence levels amongst workers are likely to keep falling as they are worried about what the future holds for them. Cebr is forecasting that the unemployment rate will increase to 4.2 per cent by the end of next year, which is likely to impact confidence.
“Ongoing political and economic uncertainty means workers across the country are, understandably, concerned about keeping their jobs and what the future holds for them,” commented Derek Jenkins, managing director of monster.co.uk. “Despite increased negativity and weakening levels of confidence across the country, it is good that the younger generation are still feeling confident as they start their careers. Employers need to embrace this positivity by providing them with opportunities that will install long term confidence. Consider running company wide meetings so they can see the direction the business is taking, or providing training in valuable skills.”