Smiles return to South East employees

Workers in the South East are more confident and satisfied in their roles than they were at the start of the year, indicating a continued strengthening of the labour market.

The REED Local Salary and Market Insight report, which canvassed the attitudes of 1,500 employers and employees across the UK, reveals an increased sense of optimism among the workforce.

The findings come amid a flurry of reports indicating a more positive footing for the jobs market and the wider UK economy.

According to the REED report, the South East is one of the most optimistic areas in the UK, where there is greater confidence in the strength of their local economy and a strong sense of job security.

Just under half of workers in the South East (43%) are confident their region could create jobs and boost the economy compared to 28% nationally, while 81% said they felt secure or very secure in their job. This compares to lower confidence levels in Northern Ireland (76%), Yorkshire and the Humber (72%) and the North East (74%).

In the South East, 43% of workers said they were actively looking for a new role or would start the search in the next 12 months, which was in line with the national average. Job seeking is most prolific among workers in the East of England (50%), London (49%) and Yorkshire and Humber (47%).

Simon Baddeley, regional director at REED, said: “It is encouraging to see this continued upward trend in confidence and satisfaction since the start of the year. The South East is one of the most upbeat areas of the UK and this combined sense of confidence and satisfaction makes for a healthier jobs market.

“Interestingly, our data shows that job security is most keenly felt by middle (77%) and senior management (80%), which is encouraging given this group’s grasp on the health of their organisation. The mood of the workforce is set from the top, so we may see an even more optimistic outlook in the coming months as this attitude filters through UK businesses.”

The survey showed a reduction in the prevalence of employee rewards compared to the start of the year, with 32% receiving a pay rise in the last 12 months, compared to 39% in January. However, the proportion of employees reporting a pay rise has increased slightly in the South East to 41%, bucking the national trend.

Simon Baddeley commented: “It is encouraging to see the prevalence of employee rewards holding firm the South East. Our research found that the majority of UK employers (58%) continue to have concerns about losing talent from their organisations and, as the labour market improves, it’s vital that businesses have the measures in place to attract and retain their talent.”

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