UK pay growth highest for 10 years

Increased competition for workers is pushing pay to its highest level since the UK was deep in recession 10 years ago. The latest update on the labour market from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 3.1% higher in the three months to August 2018, compared to the same quarter of 2017.

“The UK’s jobs surge is at last feeding through to higher wages, with pay packets growing at their fastest rate since the financial crisis almost a decade ago,” explains Sam Holt of Norfolk Accountancy Recruitment company, Big Sky Additions. “This pay momentum is very welcome for employees of course, reflecting a tight labour market with near record numbers of people in work, and UK unemployment at a 43-year low.”

The latest ONS figures to the end of August showed little movement in employment or unemployment in the last quarter – employment fell by 5,000 to 32.39 million, while unemployment dropped by 47,000 to 1.36 million. The unemployment rate remained at 4%; it has not been lower since December 1974 to February 1975. The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee concentrates on movements in pay when assessing wage pressures within the economy, and has been predicting that the news of UK unemployment stabilising at its lowest level since the mid-1970s would lead to a pick-up in earnings.

“We are seeing Norfolk employers beginning to reflect these national findings with pay awards for existing staff and increasingly generous remuneration packages on offer to attract new staff,” explained Sam, who recruits part time and full time staff for accountancy jobs in Norwich and across Norfolk and Suffolk. “Competition to attract the best workers is good news for employees and job seekers, and means we have to work smarter to match the very best talent to our clients with current vacancies.”

Despite faster acceleration in wages growth in recent months, its important to recognise that ‘real pay’ – adjusted for inflation and the impact of price increases – is £11 a week lower than it was before the global financial crisis erupted. “We still welcome the latest pay growth as a positive shift,” continued Sam. “New talent is attracted to the Norwich area by the vibrant city surrounded by stunning landscapes, and the modest cost of living when it comes to achieving a high quality of life outside of the UK’s major urban centres.”

For further advice about finding an accountancy job in Norfolk or Suffolk contact Sam on 01603 516254