Managing Your Cash Flow

Self-employed seeing some of the biggest salary increases in UK

4 min read

25 August 2015

According to Adzuna's latest UK job market report, advertised salaries for vacancies in the trade and construction sector saw significant increases in July as "understaffed employers compete for skilled labour".

Advertised salaries in the sector stood at £38,353 in July, up by 4.7 per cent from last July.

Adzuna said companies such as Uber, Hassle, Taskrabbit and Handy – an app that puts consumers directly in touch with independent maintenance workers and cleaners – had the most viewed job ads in July. This suggested that “jobseekers are increasingly keen to join professions which pay the top bucks.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “As a model, businesses like Uber and Hassle are spreading and rapidly becoming ever more widely used. Such firms are set to change the way we think about employment. By putting independent business owners, often one-person operations, directly in touch with consumers, it changes the meaning of being self-employed. Through apps like this, workers can now directly and flexibly offer their services without being tied into long-term contracts.”

It comes as Adzuna revealed that average advertised salaries fell 1.1 per cent to £33,505 in July as firms preferred to up the pay of existing talent rather than find new staff. 

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London in particular suffered, with salaries in the capital slipping 2.8 per cent year-on-year to £40,396 – the largest fall of any region. In contrast, Yorkshire and the Humber was the best performing region with advertised salaries rising by 3.2 per cent.

“Companies are clinging on to skilled workers, rather than bringing in new talent at the top,” said Hunter. “Businesses are rewarding loyal employees that stayed during the recession, but who hadn’t seen salaries rise since these lean years. Now, these employees are receiving their recession rewards, as workloads sprawl and middle managers become ever more important.

“Businesses are returning to the classic pyramid structure, by nurturing the middle layer. Bosses are relying more on managers to vet and oversee their junior staff, as more business comes through the door. But by boosting the salaries of their existing staff, employers have less money in the bank for recruitment. This means the jobs market focus has shifted from recruitment to retention.”

Adzuna said two consecutive increases in unemployment was indicative of a struggle to match jobseekers with the skills required by many of the available positions.

“The fact that unemployment is rising while it’s getting even easier to find employment suggests that we have a real problem matching people with jobs,” said Hunter. “This is partly due to a disconnection between the skills people have and the talents employers need, but geographical factors are playing their part too. 

“As ever, people flock to the southern regions of England in search of work, ignoring the many opportunities that are springing up in the north. It’s not quite a land of opportunity for all – many northern towns still have the highest number of jobseekers per vacancy. But there are well-paid jobs waiting for people with the right skills.”