Published on Monday, December 31, 2018

Workplace trends for 2019

Philip Price, the founder of WorkAdvisor, gives his top five predictions for how our working lives will change in 2019.

We'll have to pay more
Ah, Brexit. Whether you're a Remainer, a hard Brexiteer, a fan of the 'May deal', undecided or just totally naffed off with it all, it's likely that whatever happens will impact on the job market in 2019. Between 12% and 24% of the UK hospitality workforce is made up of EU nationals, depending upon region and type of work. Since the referendum, the decline in EU migrants has hastened, but a study by consultants KPMG estimated that the UK needs an extra 62,000 EU migrants per year to be able to maintain current activities and grow. The net result of the shortage is that wages will have to increase to attract workers from other sectors.

The hotel and airline sector will be hit hardest
Hotels rely heavily on overseas staff, with hotels in the south east having up to 35% of their vacancies filled by EU migrants, so we expect they will find it particularly tough to fill vacancies. We saw Virgin Atlantic threatened with strikes by its pilots over the festive period. The Professional Pilots' Union (PPU), which represents around 30% of all pilots, are finding their teeth and are likely to attract more members in 2019. We expect recruitment will be tough in this sector and pilots may start to look elsewhere, particularly with the uncertainty over the open skies agreement.

Improved benefits and working conditions in the travel sector
As it's a buyer's market, we expect workers to get some great deals. It used to be all about salary, location and career prospects but now job seekers want to know how open employers are to flexible working and what the overall benefits of a role will be. Travel is conservative sector, not known for its enlightened approach to employee welfare. But to attract the best talent UK travel business will have to up their game and follow companies in the technology and finance sectors, where enhanced benefits and a more caring approach to staff is more common.

We're all in to wellness
Part of that caring approach is to look after the health and wellbeing of employees. It's no longer good enough to offer a bowl of fruit on reception. Companies have to show concern for the mental and physical health of employees - everything from listening to any issues they have to providing healthy food in the canteen and offering exercise classes.

Employer branding to become even more important
Employers will invest more in their branding to retain the best employees. Millennials often rate a company's employer brand, which includes their policies on modern slavery, working conditions, retention rates, sustainability and CSR, as being more important than the salary offered for a role. A good reputation cannot be created overnight, companies need to think about their overall strategy and communicate well to job seekers with an attractive proposition. Over 70% of job seekers read workplace reviews before accepting a role. Positive reviews are great but employers should not worry about receiving some negative reviews, because that provides an opportunity for improvement.

Here's to a prosperous 2019!

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