Employment trends: what will 2018 bring?

Artificial Intelligence, upskilling, and a larger emphasis on equal pay are just a few of the workplace trends we are likely to see in 2018.

With unemployment at a 42 year low of 4.3%, the job market remains fiercely competitive. The ONS recently reported that many UK businesses are struggling to find employees as the pool of potential employees shrinks.

Added to this, the broader outlook is fairly uncertain, with slow growing wages, rising inflation and concerns about Brexit dominating employment debates.

So, what will the workplace of 2018 look like? We have put together a list of the top predictions.

Improving productivity in the workplace

In 2017, The UK economy grew at its weakest rate in 5 years, according to a recent forecast by PwC.  Last year, GDP growth was only 17% above levels seen in 2012 – at the heart of the Eurozone crisis.

With looming uncertainty over Brexit, it’s believed the UK is in for a gloomy year in terms of productivity. The recent UK Government industrial strategy white paper hailed the use of Artificial Intelligence as key to improving workplace productivity.

Offices are expected to begin introducing virtual assistants, who can perform tasks such as finding data, ordering supplies and managing calendars.

We will also see ‘smart’ offices becoming more prevalent. Many managers believe that smart offices will raise productivity by over 50%.

These offices will contain features such as applications to book desks, seamless technology integration, room sensors to track efficiency, and the ability to personalise heat and light settings.

We will also see an increase in video conferencing and remote working, which were popular productivity themes seen last year.


Closing the skills gap

Lagging productivity is not the only side effect Brexit is predicted to yield. Many industries across the country are beginning to experience skill gaps due to the predicted loss of free labour movement in the EU.

The recent Government industrial strategy white paper addresses the growing skills gap, introducing the ‘National Retraining Scheme’, which will support those hoping to re-skill. There is a particular focus on investing in digital, construction and STEM training.

Around the country, the skills gap is likely to be resolved by an increase in the so-called ‘gig economy’. Totaljobs indicates that employers expect the importance of contract and freelance workers to continue to grow in 2018 as businesses struggle to fill the gaps.


A more diverse and fair workplace

From April 2017, employers that have over 250 employees will have to publish their gender pay gap annually.

With women paid 23% on average less than men carrying out an equal job, we can expect to see many employees demanding that their employers redress gender inequality.

Once these issues are confronted, companies will need to change their pay systems to ensure that trust is rebuilt, and to stop female employees leaving to find equal paying roles.  Businesses will need to think clearly about how they can close their pay gap and communicate these plans with staff, so that employee morale is preserved.

© 2018 Just Recruitment Group Ltd.

Posted on Tuesday Jan 16