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2021 UK job market report: How COVID-19 has sparked new business growth

6 April 2021 Data Insights

Over the past year, people have begun to invest in their ambitions, by starting their own business off the back of hobbies and passions.  The pandemic has changed a lot about the way we live and work, and there has been a notable push for people to recognise those with ‘unskilled’ jobs as being the heroes of the pandemic. 

Paymentsense wanted to know exactly what jobs had seen the most increase in demand and what industries are hiring the most for remote work.

After analysing job boards, apprenticeship schemes and search trends we were able to pinpoint exactly where these increases were happening.

From September to November in 2020, redundancy rates reached a high of 14.2% per thousand. With people’s regular jobs becoming impossible, a high number of Brits facing adversity pivoted and started turning their hobbies and passions into their income. 

In the past, successful companies have been born during huge economic difficulties. Microsoft started in 1975, the latter end of a recession and Disney formed just as the Great Depression began.

Throughout 2020 a lot of new businesses began to emerge, with the third quarter of 2020 seeing more businesses created than in the past three years with 221,020 new companies being created. 

Although we’re all experiencing a tough economic landscape, there’s clearly been new growth – with people using this time to build their own business. 

Job Report 2021 - New businesses

Couriers and salesmen are the most in-demand job roles of 2020

With online orders reaching a record high last year, it’s no wonder that the most in-demand job of the pandemic is couriers. This role alone advertised an incredible 3.3million job vacancies in 2020, seeing a 13.94% increase compared with the beginning of the year.

Salesmen followed closely behind with 1.7million jobs announced last year although the role has seen a huge decline from January 2020 to January 2021 with a 41.53% decrease in adverts. 

Across the UK, sales jobs were being advertised in their millions, which means that a lot of sectors would have seen a massive increase in employment. 

The civil service alone saw an enormous increase of 416% in 2020. Whereas travel agents saw an 86% decrease in advertised roles compared with the beginning of the year as travel restrictions were put in place.

Job Report 2021 - Most vacancies

Factory workers have had the highest salary increase since last year

As online ordering became part of the UK’s new normal, whether that was food or consumer delivery, the need for factory workers began to rise. As demand rose, so did salaries.

Factory workers had the highest increase from 2020, rising by 60% taking the average advertised pay from £22,666 in January 2020 to £36,490 in January 2021.

This was closely followed by florists who received an increase of 54% taking their average pay from £28,455 to £43,786.

Although travel agents saw a decrease in advertised roles, they actually experienced a salary increase in 2020 of 50.8% which increased their average pay from £26,730 in January 2020 to £40,309 in January 2021.

Remote jobs are becoming more popular with an average UK salary of £42k

Since March 2020 business opportunities have flourished thanks to the growing ability to work from the comfort of your own home. With over a year in restrictions and lockdowns, a large majority of the U.K. have begun to rethink big-city life

Over the last year, IT jobs have been the most in-demand remote roles with just over 26,000 advertised in the past year. Although these jobs were the most advertised, the search interest in these particular roles actually went down in 2020 decreasing by 41.94%.

By contrast, the highest searched for a remote role in 2020 was administrative work, receiving an increased search volume of 215% over the past year.

Looking at all the remote jobs advertised in the UK for 2020 it’s no surprise to see that London has the most advertised along with the highest average salary of £56,397. 

Reading had the second-highest paying remote roles at an average of £47,369, with Edinburgh just slightly lower with an average salary of £47,056.

Job Report 2021 - Remote Job Searches

Engineering apprenticeships are the most sought after

There have been over 4.2 million apprenticeships started since 2010 in the UK. And with over 742,000 people starting apprenticeships in 2018/19 it is clear that there is still a high demand for people to learn on the job. 

Skilled apprenticeships last year were being advertised in their thousands, as engineering alone advertised 7,088 apprenticeships. 

Roles such as PR, advertising, and marketing had the least apprenticeships to offer with just 694 over the entire year of 2020.

Although London had the most advertised apprenticeships at 2,988 (over quadruple any other city in the UK), Coventry has actually been found to have the highest paying apprenticeships with an average starting salary of £32,493.

Business and management degrees prove the most popular

During 2020 creative degrees such as art and design saw a huge increase in searches, as well as technology degrees with an increase of 268%.  With restrictions put in place last year, physical science and agriculture degrees dropped the most. 

With young minds remaining hopeful and positive they started looking towards the future, as most postgraduates chose to further their learning with business and management degrees, receiving up to 253,000 searches.

The increase in interest in these degrees is positive to see and is reflected in the number of new businesses that have been created in the past year.

From 2018-2019 those opening new businesses increased by 12.23%, jumping to 58.16% from 2019-2020. This increased once again from 2020 to 2021. 2020 alone saw 768,777 brand new companies.

ob Report 2021 - Most searched degrees


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