It’s been almost two weeks since the publication of the Autumn Budget – but what does it really mean for the employment market?
With Brexit on the horizon – sorry, didn’t really want to mention it, but needs must – and an economic tomorrow that’s more than a little uncertain, we’ve been keeping a close eye on what a post-Budget future might look like. Happily, there are quite a few positives we can take away from the Chancellor’s Budget, although we’ll be sure not to count our metaphorical chickens before they’ve hatched. Or our campaign buses before they’ve delivered on their £350 million, so to speak.
Here’s a round-up of some of our key take-aways (that’s take-away points, not kebab shops) from the Budget…
Rise and shine
Good news for those aged 25 and over, with the national living wage set to rise from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour – that’s a pay rise of around £600 a year for a full-time worker. Similarly, we’ll see the personal allowance increase to £11,850, meaning we’ll be able to earn more before we’re taxed.
While these changes might make small differences to low income workers, they’re not going to be mind-blowingly transformative. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.
Back to the future
One of the things we’re most excited about is the significant amount of money that’s been committed to the technology and engineering sector. Think regional infrastructure projects, 5G mobile networks, the development of electric cars – and £2.3 billion for investment in research and development. Great news, huh? Although, given the big tech and engineering skills gap we have right now, you might be wondering how that’s all going to come into fruition.
The Government has outlined plans to grow the UK skills base, awarding additional funding to schools for every student who takes maths or further maths, pledging to triple the number of computer science teachers and stating its intent to create a new National Centre for Computing. It’s good to see plans for a pipeline of future talent in the making. Bring on the next generation of engineers!
The big build up
With housebuilding and infrastructure high on the UK priority list, it’s little wonder that the construction industry is likely to see a welcome boost too. A cool £34 million has been allocated to developing construction skills, helping to combat the problem of an existing skills shortage and the uncertain future of the 175,000 EU nationals currently working in the construction sector.
Government boffins will be working with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on a National Retraining Scheme, which will support the extension of the construction sector. Leading us nicely onto…
The National Retraining Scheme gets a big Blue Octopus stamp of approval. Not only is it reflective of Generation Y – probably more commonly known as ‘Millennials’ – who are more inclined to change jobs than previous generations, but it also enables people – of all ages – to train and retrain in certain areas. No matter which way we look at it, that’s a win for anyone who’s ever felt stuck in a rut when it comes to careers and employment.
The road ahead
We’re looking to the future with positivity, but also realism. These changes are significant in terms of getting UK productivity levels back on track. And, almost more than that, they’re a ray of hope for employers who are straining under the weight of ongoing skills shortages. It could be some time, though, before we start to see some tangible results. We’ll be watching closely.