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Brits Twice as Optimistic as French and Italians About Pay Rise Prospects in 2021

UK workers are twice as optimistic about their chances of getting a pay rise next year compared to their counterparts in France and Italy. Research by Indeed, one of the world’s largest job sites, shows that despite Brexit and rising unemployment the UK ranks second out of Europe’s biggest economies in how positive workers feel about their prospects of a higher salary.

Almost a quarter (23.22%) of UK workers feeling optimistic about their chances of a pay rise, compared to 12.66% in France, and 12.7% in Italy. The UK came just behind the Netherlands, where 23.84% of workers rate their chances of a 2021 pay rise highly.

Dutch workers’ optimism may be linked to the Netherlands’ robust response to the pandemic. It has recorded 10,100 Covid-related deaths compared to over 64,500 in the UK, 65,000 in Italy, 58,300 in France and 22,600 in Germany.

Although lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions have been hugely disruptive for many businesses, most UK employees feel positive about the role they played in helping their employer get through 2020.

Three-fifths (62%) of employees believe they helped their company to weather the coronavirus storm this year, but few should expect a pay rise to reward them for their efforts. In total, 43% of employers say they are pessimistic about the likelihood of pay rises for their workforce in the year ahead.

The number of unemployed Britons looking for work has hit 1.69 million, but Indeed’s analysis reveals that of those in work, three out of five ( 58%) are planning to stay put rather than look for a new role, creating a two-speed jobs market.

People working in the manufacturing and healthcare sectors are the least likely to actively pursue new job opportunities next year, with two-thirds (64%) of workers in those sectors saying they plan to stay in their current job.

At the other end of the scale, workers in IT, sales, media and marketing are the most likely to be actively searching for a new job – whether to make a career move, because they are unhappy in their current role or because they are worried about being made redundant.

A gender divide has also emerged in how positive — or not — workers feel about their salary and career prospects heading into 2021.

Over a quarter (27%) of men are optimistic about their chances of a pay rise next year, compared to just 19% of women.

Men also have higher expectations for their career prospects in 2021. A third (34%) of men are optimistic about their career heading into next year, versus just 20% of women.

Bill Richards, managing director at global job site Indeed, comments: “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.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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