Source: The Telegraph.co.uk
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.
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 channelling their digital efforts.
Web developers in general are looking at an average advertised salary of £39,141.
Health, Medical and Nursing
Nurses are always in high demand in the UK, and specialist nurses working in operating theatres 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 reachalmost £100,000.
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.
Construction and Property
The construction industry suffered heavily during the recession as housebuilding 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 economy, and things are looking brighter in the sector than at any point since 2007. Last year was the best year for British builders in almost 20 years. And with experienced professionals in short supply, graduate-level opportunities are also on the rise.
As unemployment falls, there is growing demand for HR and recruitment professionals to handle job applications and hunt for new recruits. To work in HR, you need to enjoy interacting with people, as you’re likely to be handling internal requests and questions from outsiders keen to join the company. Average salaries are around £29,910, but can rise much higher depending on experience and which industry you work in.
There were 28,909 HR roles advertised on Adzuna in February this year, up from 16,989 in February 2013.
Marketing was severely affected by the economic downturn but opportunities are increasing as the UK's economic recovery picks up pace. Salaries in the sector can range from a starting base of £18,000, but can go beyond £100,000 for the top roles. Marketing managers typically earn around £47,000 a year.
Marketing is a flexible job, and allows people to work in almost any industry sector, from financial services and consumer goods, to motor and technology. A key part of the role is to understand current and potential customer behaviour, as well as to develop the marketing plan for a product or brand.