Country Profile: United Kingdom Labour Market

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Country Profile: United Kingdom Labour Market

By Khashayar Shahmiri | May 20, 2019

When you think about the pressures on the UK workforce, Brexit is probably the first thing to come to mind. And, according to industry analyst firm Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), official employment data tells a story of high employment. A sharp drop in net employment score right after the referendum vote had some worried, but the proportion of employers increasing staff remains above pre-vote levels.

But Brexit isn’t the only thing having an impact on the UK workforce. Like most developed countries in the world, technology is having a huge impact in the region. The World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2018,” shows a dozen technologies are being adopted by a majority of the companies surveyed, which is leading to emerging job roles and emerging skills.

Read on to learn more about UK labour market trends.

Technology Adoption

The overwhelmingly highest adopted technology is reported to be user and entity big data analytics (91% of companies indicated they would be adopting this technology). App- and web-enabled markets and machine learning (both 80%) round out the top three. But most of the companies surveyed indicated adopting these additional technologies:

  • Internet of things (79%)
  • Cloud computing (72%)
  • Augmented and virtual reality (66%)
  • Digital trade (65%)
  • Encryption (61%)
  • Wearable electronics (55%)
  • New materials (55%)
  • Distributed ledger (blockchain) (55%)
  • 3D printing (52%)

Shifting Skills

With the adoption of new technologies comes a new normal for business operations. According to survey respondents, 86% of companies plan to hire new permanent staff with skills relevant to new technologies and 84% are looking to automate the work with new technology.

75% of companies will retrain existing employees and the majority of companies will task their internal department with providing the trainings. Companies predict more than half the workforce will need reskilling, ranging from less than one month (13%) to over a year (9%).

And this is how companies will determine job location decisions, based on talent availability. This is consistent across all industries, except oil and gas (where geographic concentration is more important). The next most important determining factor is labour cost followed by organisation headquarters and quality of the supply chain.

The emerging skills employers will be looking for include:

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Active learning and learning strategy
  • Technology design and programming
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Systems analysis and evaluation
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  • Emotional intelligence

You’ll notice the emerging skills that are not directly technology related are human skills that technology cannot be relied upon to emulate.

Job roles emerging in the UK workforce due to the shifting skill needs include:

  • Software and applications developers and analysts
  • Managing directors and chief executives
  • Sales and marketing professionals
  • Data analysts and scientists
  • General and operations managers
  • Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products
  • Assembly and factory workers
  • Human resources specialists
  • Financial and investment advisors
  • Financial analysts


READ ALSO: Country profile: Australia


About the Author
Khashayar Shahmiri

Khash is Director of GQR’s London office, overseeing all functions and people within the EMEA operation.

His Banking & Finance background transcended him into a leadership position, deriving from his deep expertise in quantitative derivatives, investment banking, asset management, hedge fund management and proprietary trading.

With years of experience recruiting elite professionals for top-tier financial firms around the world, Khash leads the London team in initiating this process throughout the EMEA region.

Khash has advanced his career with GQR since joining in 2010, specializing in quantitative finance recruitment before spearheading the economic research and strategy and wealth management sectors, finally leading the entire EMEA operation in its strategic growth.

He graduated from the University of Surrey with a degree in business management and finance.

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