According to this week’s Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, the number of job vacancies hit an eight-month high in March, and although competition for new vacancies was strong, many analysts are predicting that unemployment is beginning to top out. Currently the unemployment rate stands at 8.4% of the workforce, and The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) is predicting that unemployment will peak at 8.7% at the end of the year, before steadily falling to 6.3% by 2016.
Much of the growth in employment is being driven by a booming information and communications technology sector (ICT). The ICT market in the UK currently generates £140 billion, equal to 12% of GDP, and employs 600,000 people. The UK has become a clear market leader for IT jobs in Europe because of the sophisticated consumer base which adopts new technologies quickly, combined with a highly skilled labour market.
The UK’s advantages in IT have firmly established it as the European market leader in ICT, and research carried out by Microsoft suggests that 2,500 new businesses and 78,200 new jobs in IT could be created as early as the end of next year.
One of the biggest growth areas within the IT sector is in the provision of Cloud Services, following indications that small and medium sized businesses are going to utilise cloud storage solutions. Currently 18% of enterprises are plugged into the cloud, but this is expected to rise to around 50% by the end of the year. It is forecast that half of all companies’ new IT expenditure will be geared to cloud solutions by 2015.