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2015: Q4’s job market in review

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library​


In an eventful year for the UK’s job market, data from CV-Library reveals that Q4 saw a healthy growth in salaries. There was a rise of 4.4% in average wages across the UK when comparing advertised salaries in Q4 2015 with those in Q4 2014. Heading into a year of ‘Candidate Power’, Q4’s data suggests that businesses have been forced to increase salaries as vacancies face dwindling applications, highlighting how hard businesses have to fight to win over the best recruits.


October – December 2015 saw a healthy 4.4% growth in salaries across the UK, meaning that UK professionals kicked 2016 off with more money than 2015; the average worker is now taking home £33,236.67 a year, up from £31, 852.50.


Standout sector growth


Q4 2015 saw strong salary growth across a variety of sectors, with the construction, automotive and retail industries all featuring prominently, when advertised salaries were compared with the same period on 2014. The top ten included:


  1. Construction – 17.1%                                                     6. Distribution – 4.9%
  2. Media – 17%                                                                      7. Arts/graphic design – 4.1%
  3. Automotive – 8.9%                                                          8. Hospitality – 3.7%
  4. Retail – 7.2%                                                                      9. Accounting – 2.4%
  5. Sales – 5.5%                                                                       10. Engineering – 2%


Such strong salary growth is a good news for candidates and the industries’ employers alike; while the UK’s candidates are in a position of power, these high salaries should work well to attract the most talented job hunters.


Key UK cities


As the nation’s workers are looking for their next opportunity, it’s clearer than ever that pay will be a top priority. In addition to increasing salaries across key industries, cities across the country also saw a growth in wages. The top ten included:

  1. Hull – 13.4%                                                                       6. Portsmouth – 5.6%
  2. Cardiff – 7.5%                                                                    7. Birmingham – 4.4%
  3. Bristol – 7.1%                                                                     8. Edinburgh – 4.1%
  4. Leeds – 6.3%                                                                      9. London – 3.2%
  5. Sheffield – 5.8%                                                                10. Southampton – 0.2%


Strong job growth


Q4 2015 delivered more good news to the UK’s job market in the form of a 19.1% growth in jobs across the country when compared with Q4 2014. Better still, job growth can be seen across the UK’s key cities and sectors, as opposed to being focused in one area; all good news for 2016’s job market.

Jobs: top ten growth sectors

  1. Education - 48.9%                                                            6. Administration – 24.5%
  2. Social care – 42.4%                                                          7. Public sector – 24.1%
  3. Arts/graphic design – 39.3%                                        8. Construction – 22.5%
  4. Customer services – 35.9%                                           9. Catering – 22.4%
  5. Legal – 25.1%                                                                     10. Medical/pharmaceutical – 21.6%


Jobs: top ten growth cities

  1. Cardiff – 43.9%                                                                  6. Leeds – 23.9%
  2. Liverpool – 38.2%                                                             7. Manchester – 19.6%
  3. Glasgow – 27.1%                                                              8. Brighton – 19.4%
  4. Hull – 26.5%                                                                       9. Birmingham – 18.1%
  5. Edinburgh – 25.3%                                                           10. London – 18%


Application rates


Job hunters are set to continue holding all of the cards in recruitment this year, as application rates fail to maintain pace with job growth, and rising salaries are one tool employers are using to combat the challenge of ‘candidate power’.


While Q4 2015 showed an impressive 19.1% growth in jobs across the UK when compared with the same period in 2014, applications only grew 18.7% resulting in a 0.3% deficit in terms of the number of candidates applying to each role. Though this number doesn’t initially appear too worrying, when Q4 2015 is compared with Q3 2015, applications dropped by 7.7%, further confirming 2016 as ‘The Year of the Candidate’ in which job hunters can afford to be more selective in a prosperous job market.



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