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Job seekers want full time jobs as part-time loses appeal

Mariano Mamertino

The combination of Britain’s jobs boom and Brexit uncertainty may have prompted millions of job seekers to look for full-time, rather than part-time or temporary work. That’s the finding of data published today by the world’s largest jobsite, Indeed.

Indeed’s data, which gives a real-time picture of what jobs people are looking for and where, shows that during 2017 the proportion of UK job seekers searching for full-time roles rose by a third while searches for part-time jobs rose by just 8 percent.

The divergence marks a stark departure from recent years, which have seen part-time jobs become increasingly popular. In 2016 Indeed saw the split between the two remain broadly unchanged, before full-time jobs surged in popularity in 2017.

Indeed’s analysis mirrors official ONS data, which shows that over the past year, virtually all job creation came from full-time positions. The number of workers on temporary contracts kept falling, while self-employment grew at a much slower pace than in 2016. The number of people on contracts that do not guarantee a minimum number of hours – so-called zero-hour contracts – fell for the first time in seven years.

The shift comes as the labour market has become steadily tighter. With the unemployment rate at its lowest level since 1975 and the proportion of people working reaching a record high in 2017, in many areas the demand from employers is outstripping the supply of job seekers.

Indeed EMEA economist Mariano Mamertino comments: “Economic theory suggests that when the labour market is tight, the battle for talent should encourage employers to increase wages in order to attract candidates. But the ongoing riddle of Britain’s labour market is why this isn’t happening; average wages have been falling in real terms for most of 2017.

“Yet wages apart, we have seen the balance of power tilt in favour of job seekers, who know they are in demand and feel increasingly able to demand full-time roles. Against an increasingly unpredictable economic backdrop, workers’ increased appetite for regular hours and predictable pay is understandable.

“Real wages have stagnated for more than a decade, but there is some hope for 2018. With the number of EU workers coming to Britain dropping off in the wake of the Brexit vote, the labour market could get even tighter and finally force employers to hike wages faster.”

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