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UK salaries jump 4.4 per cent year on year
Better pay is set to be a top priority for staff in 2016

The fourth quarter of 2015 saw a healthy growth in salaries, with a rise of 4.4 per cent in average wages across the UK year on year, research finds.

UK professionals are kicking off January with more money than last year as the average worker is now taking home £33,236.67 a year, up from £31,852.50.

Construction, automotive and retail feature on the list of sectors with the highest growth in advertised salaries between October-December 2015, when compared with the same period in 2014. The top four include construction with 17.1 per cent growth, media (16. per cent), automotive (9 per cent), retail (7.2 per cent). 

As workers look for their next opportunity in 2016 it’s clear that better pay will be a top priority; in addition to growing salaries across key sectors, cities across the UK also saw a spike in wages. The top five include Hull, with a 13.4 per cent growth, Cardiff (7.5 per cent), Bristol (7.1 per cent), Leeds (6.3 per cent), and Sheffield (5.8 per cent).

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, which conducted the research says, 'Throughout 2015 our data revealed a trend of rising salaries, which are indicative of a strong job market, but the growth can also be attributed to the challenge of ‘candidate power’.

'Moving into 2016 job hunters are set to hold all of the cards in recruitment as application rates fail to maintain pace with job growth. Improved pay is one critical way in which businesses can attract picky candidates.'

In addition, Q4 2015 showed an impressive 19.1 per cent growth in jobs across the UK when compared with the same period in 2014; however, applications only grew 18.7 per cent resulting in a 0.3 per cent deficit in terms of the number of candidates applying to each role.

While this number doesn’t appear too worrying, when compared with Q3 2015, applications dropped by 7.7 per cent, further confirming 2016 as ‘The Year of the Candidate’ in which job hunters can afford to be more selective in a prosperous job market.

Biggins adds, 'All signs point to a strong job market and bode well for recruitment in 2016; however, the quarterly decline in applications should raise red flags for employers. As the number of candidates applying to each vacancy continues to decline, businesses are going to struggle to attract qualified candidates.

'Improving pay is a good start, but employers need to look at their recruitment process as a whole to ensure they pull out all the stops in 2016.'

Further reading on pay

See also: New year's resolutions

Related topics: Managing staff

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