June 15, 2024

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Revealed: the industries creating the most UK jobs

Employment in the UK is currently at a record high, with over 32.7 million people in work across the country. RS Components have analysed official UK government data to reveal the industries that are creating the most UK jobs and those that have reduced in numbers.

The real estate industry is the industry creating the most jobs in the UK. Real estate jobs are up 234% in the past 40 years, with over 500,00 real estate job vacancies available in the UK in 2018, compared to only 170,000 back in 1978, 40 years earlier.

40 Years Of Jobs
Source: RS Components

Job vacancies are also on the rise – up from 1.72 million vacancies in 1978 to 2.95 million in 2018. However this availability of jobs may not be due to the growth of the education industry. Teacher retention statistics released in 2018 paint a bleak picture for UK teachers, with below-target recruitment numbers and increasing number of teachers leaving the profession. The next few years are therefore critical in focusing on recruitment and retention within the UK education industry.

Science and technology job vacancies are up 208% since 1978, with 2.97 million roles available in 2018, marking a significant shift from the manufacturing Britain of old, to the technology focused ones of the future. Although the introduction of artificial intelligence and data technologies has been criticised for replacing more manual traditional jobs, they are in fact creating just as many jobs as people are needed to create, maintain and develop these technologies. Jobs managing technology we can expect to see in the future include ‘Pharmers’, self-driving car mechanics, drone managers, autonomous transportation specialists and more.

Manufacturing jobs are down 59% since 1978, as well as other manual or labour intensive jobs such as mining and quarrying (down an incredible 84%) and electricity, gas and air conditioning supply (down 41%). The already-declining mining industry took a further hit in the mid-1908s when the bitter confrontation took place between miners and UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, which resulted in almost 80 mines shutting down, with many more closures continuing into the early 90’s. In 2018, there were only around 60,000 mining and quarrying jobs.

However, as more manual jobs are being replaced by automated technologies, industries where human qualities such as creativity and human connection are highly valued are creating more jobs as the years go on. Vacancies in the health and social care industry are up 127% since 1978, with 4.38 million vacancies available last year. Similarly, vacancies in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry are up 111% from the past 40 years, with 1.03 million job vacancies available in 2018. Whilst machine learning can be used in both these industries to improve efficiency by automating simple manual tasks, a key skill used in both of these industries is the caring, personal care qualities of a healthcare or social professional, or the creativity of an arts and entertainment professional – both of which cannot be replicated in an AI machine.

It is clear that the job market is changing, with people moving more and more towards a technological and multi-faceted career, meaning that in order to stay in the job market people are going to have to expand their skill sets. Furthermore, industries (such as education) that are struggling to retain numbers would benefit from a focused recruitment and retention programme, ensuring that these jobs are filled.

But which industries will survive the next 40 years? See more information at RS Components.