There are now record numbers of people in employment in the UK but what exactly do they do, how are the different sectors made up and how do your experiences weigh up compared to the rest of the country’s?

There are now record numbers of people in employment in the UK but what exactly do they do, how are the different sectors made up and how do your experiences weigh up compared to the rest of the country’s?

Most people work in service industries

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 30% of UK employees work in public admin, education and health. This is followed by retail, hotels and restaurants (19%), finance and business (17%), transport and communications (9%) and other services (6%).

In contrast, just 9% of people work in manufacturing, 7% in construction and 3% in agriculture and energy.

Separate data released by the ONS earlier this month also found that where you live could have a huge impact on the profession you enter. If you live in the South West for example, it has been found that you’re more likely to work as a hotel manager, farmer, armed forces officer or blacksmith compared to those in other parts of the UK.

The most common jobs in the North East are sales and retail assistants, admin assistants, clerks, office administrators, care workers and home carers.

As the UK’s economy continues to recover, many companies are increasing their recruitment intake. Which workers are the most in-demand however?

  • IT – technology is fast-moving and continually improving which means that demand for IT professionals is at an all-time high.
  • Healthcare, medical and nursing – nurses are always in high demand in the UK and specialist nurses who work in operating theatres and neonatal intensive care units have even been listed on the Government’s Shortage Occupations List.
  • Engineering – the UK is currently facing a chronic skills shortage in this sector and engineers are well and truly in high demand.
  • Accountancy and finance – there is a growing demand for accountants in the UK and a number of employers are looking to hire graduates into part-qualified positions to cover the shortage of candidates.
  • Human Resources.
  • Marketing.

Gender gaps are narrowing  

The working world may once have been dominated by men but this is no longer the case. At the start of the 1970s, just over a third of workers were women. Fast forward to 2017 and women make up nearly half of the workforce.

Another interesting change has been the ageing workforce. In 1992, just one in five workers were aged 50 or over. This has now reduced to just one in three. It’s thought that this trend is being driven by rising life expectancy and the ever-increasing increasing state pension age.

More people are self-employed

The changing nature of work and the jobs people are doing has become an increasingly important issue in recent years. In the UK alone, there are now nearly five million self-employed people which is a 50% increase since the turn of the millennium.

Although the world of work is changing dramatically, most people still have ‘traditional’ jobs. Nearly two-thirds of employed Brits have full-time jobs for an employer and the average working week is 32 hours.

If you would like help finding your next role, please feel free to contact Alpha and we will be more than happy to help. 


Image source: adamr@freedigitalphotos.net