UK workers are twice as optimistic about their chances of getting a pay rise in 2021 compared to their French and Italian peers.
As the UK speeds towards the end of the post-Brexit transition period on 31 December, almost a quarter (23.2%) of UK employees are feeling optimistic about the possibility of getting a pay rise, compared to 12.66% in France, and 12.7% in Italy, according to new research by job site Indeed.
Brits were the second most positive about their chances of a higher salary in the New Year, in the survey of thousands of workers across Europes seven biggest economies.
Workers in the Netherlands are the most optimistic, with 23.84% of workers rating their chances of a 2021 pay rise highly.
In the face of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns and restrictions which have been hugely disruptive for many businesses, 62% of UK employees said they feel positive about the role they played in helping their employer weather the challenges of 2020.
However, 43% of employers are pessimistic about the likelihood of pay rises for their workforce in the year ahead.
Over a quarter (27%) of men are optimistic about their chances of a pay rise next year, compared to just 19% of women.
Male employees also have higher expectations for their career prospects in 2021. A third (34%) of men are optimistic about their career heading into 2021, compared to 20% of women.
Three-in-five (58%) working Brits are planning to stay in their current role rather than look for a new job in the New Year, according to the research.
Those employed in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors are the least likely to actively pursue new job opportunities in 2021, with two-thirds (64%) saying they plan to stay put.
At the other end of the scale, workers in IT, sales, media and marketing are the most likely to be actively looking for a new position.
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The number of unemployed Brits looking for work has hit 1.69 million, with the unemployment rate standing at 4.9%, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Bill Richards, managing director at global job site Indeed, said: “The pandemic has hit the UK’s labour market hard, but despite the twin impacts of COVID and Brexit, Brits are surprisingly upbeat compared to their European counterparts.
“The rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme is likely to have given workers a shot of confidence, but whether the optimism continues into 2021 will hinge on Britain's slowing economy and the ability of Government support schemes like furlough to protect the most at-risk jobs.
“Meanwhile as the number of redundancies continues to rise, the pandemic is polarising the labour market into the ‘have jobs’ and ‘have nots’.
“On the one hand there are the hundreds of thousands who have lost, or are losing, their jobs. For them, finding a new role is an all-consuming priority. Meanwhile many of those still in work are opting to ‘hunker down’ as the economy gets back on its feet.
“For employers who are recruiting, this poses a challenge. While they can expect lots of interest in their vacancies from unemployed jobseekers, luring workers with specialist skills away from their current employer is harder than usual — so it’s essential they think strategically about their hiring and design jobs around people’s work-life priorities.”
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