As the UK economy continues to recover, many firms are increasing their recruitment intake – and here’s what’s in demand
By Elizabeth Anderson
At the peak of the recession, there were hundreds of people chasing jobs in some industries across the UK.But as the economy has improved, so has the nation’s job prospects. Graduate recruitment at Britain’s top employers is set to reach its highest level for more than a decade this year, and the median starting salary at the country’s leading employers will increase to £30,000 for this year’s graduates.But it’s not just graduates who are having better luck. It’s estimated that almost 40pc of all workers are keeping an eye out for other job opportunities this year, as they feel more confident about either changing careers or finding better roles elsewhere. The UK’s unemployment rate dropped by 35,000 in the three months to March to 1.83m, the lowest level for seven years. A record 31.1m people are in work, and the jobless rate has fallen to 5.5pc.But if you’re thinking about a new job or fancy a career change, which sectors should you be looking at?
Here’s what the experts say.Information Technology
Technology is fast-moving with plenty of chances of promotion, and demand for IT professionals is surging. Graduates with strong Java knowledge, or Java developers with one to two years’ experience, can now demand an annual salary of £35,000 – a year ago they were looking at salaries of £28,000. Java, a programming language widely used by interactive websites, is frequently cited as the most searched-for skill keyword from employers. A decade ago, smartphones and tablets didn’t even exist, and many companies are still getting to grips with where they should be channeling their digital efforts.There were 105,760 jobs advertised in the IT sector in February 2015, jobs listing website Adzuna says, a rise of 6pc in six months. More than 13,300 of those required Java skills.Web developers in general are looking at an average advertised salary of £39,141.
Healthcare, medical and nursing Nurses are always in high demand in the UK, and specialist nurses working in operating theaters and neonatal intensive care units are listed on the Government’s Shortage Occupations List. Recent figures from the health service suggested that one-in-five new nurses in hospitals comes from abroad. Spain, Portugal and the Philippines were the most popular countries to recruit nurses from. Staff nurses earn around £22,000 a year but this rises with experience, and salaries at the most senior level can reach almost £100,000.There were 97,359 healthcare vacancies listed on Adzuna in February.
There are many branches of engineering, from working in aerospace and transport to road and bridge maintenance. However, the UK is facing a chronic skills shortage in the sector and engineers are in high demand. Sir James Dyson, one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, regularly bemoans the shortage of engineers in Britain. He recently donated £12m to set up The Dyson School of Design Engineering, based in South Kensington, to tackle the crisis.There were 90,080 engineering jobs listed on Adzuna in February. The Office for National Statistics calculated the median wage for engineering professionals to be £29,700 in 2011.
Accountancy and finance
Being a qualified accountant is one of the most useful skills when it comes to long-term career planning. There is growing demand for accountants, and a number of employers are looking to hire graduates into part-qualified positions to cover a shortage in candidates, says recruitment firm Hays. Being an accountant means less exposure to economic peaks and troughs than careers in sales and business development, for example. Most graduates going into accountancy will train as chartered accountants. Even if people change their minds about becoming an accountant, the skills can be transferred to a wide range of industries and businesses, including law and advertising.In February, there were 85,780 accountancy and finance vacancies listed on Adzuna, a rise of 11pc in six months.• Are these the 25 best jobs in the UK?
Construction & Property
The construction industry suffered heavily during the recession as house building and major development projects stalled. However, building activity has risen over the past couple of years, boosted by a strong property market in the UK. Salaries for some construction professionals have risen by more than 10pc in the past year, says Hays.Quantity surveyors and estimators are receiving the highest increases within this sector, showing a clear demand for more people, the agency added. The construction sector accounts for about 6pc of the UK e