UK Unemployment Coming Down – Is it Easier to Find a Job Now?

6 Minutes Read

Unemployment levels may have fallen to just 1.6 million people – which accounts for 23.25 million full-time workers and 8.55 million part-time workers. So, at 0.77 applicants per vacancy, does it mean it’s now easier than ever to find a job?

So why has the level of unemployment fallen?

The decrease in unemployment in recent years could be down to so many different factors. Here are just a few that affect the number of people in employment:

  • Wage growth: If it’s slower, unemployment may decrease because businesses can get ‘more for their money’ from workers.
  • Student population: Students are classed as ‘economically inactive.’ So if there are more students, it seems like there are more jobs available. But the reality is, they’re not on Universal Credit benefits, so they’re not counted as ‘unemployed.’
  • Growing businesses: There are even more self-employed people than ever starting up limited companies. Over the last five to ten years these businesses have boomed, largely in the tech industry, and created thousands of jobs.

It depends on the industry

The ease of finding a job can depend on which industry you want to work in. At the moment the tech industry is booming and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Other low unemployment rate industries include finance and health – there are a lot more vacancies for these sectors then, say, marketing, retail and sales. It’s all about niches. What is your unique selling point as an employee? Potential employers are always on the lookout for ‘niche’ skills. So, for example, if you’re a web developer you may specialise in PHP – and the demand for this is very high at the moment (well, demand is constantly high for web and software developers anyway!).

Location means a lot

Believe it or not, it’s easier to find a job in particular towns and cities in the UK. According to Glassdoor, here are the best UK cities to find a job:

  • Cambridge
  • Milton Keynes
  • Nottingham
  • Leeds
  • Peterborough
  • Coventry
  • Reading
  • Manchester
  • Chelmsford

The worst UK cities to find a job include:

  • Middlesbrough
  • Hull
  • Stoke on Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Southend
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton
  • Salford

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to up sticks and relocate your entire life just to be in with a bigger chance of finding a job. It’s just a case of widening your search radius. The average commute time in the UK is 54 minutes – which can give you plenty of scope in where you can look for a job. For example, if you live in Salford, you could extend your search to Manchester city centre, it’s literally a few miles down the road – a short tram or car journey away! Your willingness to commute a bit longer could greatly increase your chances of bagging yourself a job. If you live in Southend, you could always plump for Chelmsford as your ‘work city.’ Just make sure you pick a reasonable commute – you don’t want to burn yourself out!

The North-South divide actually has a lot to do with how easy it is to find a job. Although a fair amount of northern cities are in the ‘worst’ list, Manchester actually beats London in jobs per person ratio! It’s fast becoming a northern powerhouse again, along with Leeds (and Nottingham – even though that’s more ‘Midlands!’)

Creating your own role

Even though unemployment is low, it still means you might encounter those ‘Thanks but no thanks’ emails from potential employers. Many people create their own role and rather than apply for a vacancy they’re only half experienced for. Make a list of the companies you’d like to work for, including contact details. Get in touch with each one and tell them why they’d benefit from your skills…even if they aren’t advertising a vacancy just yet! This is because a lot of businesses recruit internally before reaching out to the wider community. What happens if you don’t have a strong skillset yet? Simply let them know you’re interested in working for their company as a trainee and you’re prepared to work your way up. Businesses love initiative and an employee that’s passionate about their company.

Going solo

Becoming a sole trader or starting your own business is an option a lot of people are taking theses days – which may seem why it looks like it’s easier to get a job. At 15.6% there are a record number of self-employed people, with the rate almost doubling since 1975! Self-employment has always been on the rise because people are aspiring to be their own boss and follow their career dreams. This is compared to the ‘baby boomer’ generation who were far more likely to take on a traditional career path in a secure role. But then again, the number of self-employed people over the age of 65 has doubled in the last five years! Perhaps everyone believes that life is too short not to pursue your dreams!