Despite ‘the spectre of economic stagnation’ haunting Europe, the UK now has one of the fastest growing and stable economies in the world. Unemployment rates have fallen to an almost six-year low, with a record 30.8 million Britons now in work; that’s 694,000 more than this time last year.

Salaries have continued to rise over the last few months, although the rate of salary growth has slowed to its lowest pace since records began in 2001. However, now that the growth in average pay for UK workers has overtaken inflation for the first time in five years, our economy has earned itself an enormous silver lining. Governor of The Bank of England Mark Carney said the UK was witnessing “the start of real pay growth”, and permanent and contract workers alike should be very encouraged by the recent figures.

At first, we attributed the labour market’s growth to the widespread increase in part-time and self-employed workers. However, since June 2013 full-time positions have grown rapidly, demonstrating the ‘highest hiring optimism in Europe’ as employers feel confident enough to grow their permanent headcount. A huge 13,000 people per week are going back into work, according to Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in a BBC News interview. He said that “if you’ve been in work for a year or so, the average rise is 3.7% in salaries, which hides a trend that once you’re in work, you start to rise much faster”. “Almost all” of the 694,000 new workers are full time as people seek security in their work, according to Duncan Smith, who said that these developments are about “human change”, giving people “a real sense of getting on again and beginning to take possession of their lives”.

Of course, salary reports vary between industries. The Accounting & Finance industry, for instance, has grown very competitive, giving employers room and time to be more discerning when hiring. However, many bonuses have been reported as unsatisfactory, encouraging workers to seek higher base salaries.

The IT industry is displaying a lot of hiring confidence, particularly with permanent hires across big data and analytics. For instance, contract IT roles earn £360 on average per day.

Salaries are rising across the board for permanent HR roles, especially in L&D, talent and OD. As regulations and strategies are reworked, there is a huge drive for development and change amongst HR departments, which is in turn pushing for more senior, experienced specialists, forcing salaries to become ever more competitive.

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