Pay squeeze hits UK jobseekers as economic uncertainty tightens purse strings

As the credit crunch continues to tighten its grip, nearly half of UK workers switching jobs or returning to the jobs market after redundancy are being forced to accept lower pay as they enter new positions.

A global survey of 17,222 people including 1,557 UK respondents, conducted by HR consultancy Right Management, found that at the start of 2007, seven in 10 UK respondents going through redundancy, landed a job with equal or higher pay to their previous position. However, in December last year, this figure dropped to 56%, with more than four in 10 respondents accepting a job on lower pay.

The average applicant required five interviews to secure a new job in December against an average of 3.68 interviews throughout 2007. Globally, employees attended an average of 4.78 interviews before finding a new position in 2007.

Despite this negative outlook, more employers are planning to take on staff (13%) than reduce headcount (6%), with eight in 10 businesses expecting to make no changes to staffing levels.

Tony Martin, general manager at Right Management, said: “A slowing job market is always worrying news for employees, and as the UK enters a period of economic uncertainty we can expect more redundancies in the coming year.

“Despite this predicted downturn, we expect the long-term outlook to be more positive for employees, with the skills shortage encouraging employers to retain their top talent,” Martin said.

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