It is no secret that it has been a tough year for workers. The cost of living looks set to get worse as rising prices for groceries and basic services, along with the huge cost of energy are biting deeply into disposable income.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) assessed web-scraped supermarket data for 30 everyday grocery items and its research indicates that lowest-priced items have gone up by 17% in the 12 months to September 2022.
But it is not just goods and services that are escalating in price. Rental costs are on the move too, says property website Rightmove: in July this year, average monthly London rent reached an all-time high of £2,257, or 11.8% higher than a year earlier.
That lack of disposable income is being reflected in spending power. The ONS has also said retail sales fell by 2.4% in the three months to October, compared with the previous three months; it is the worst quarterly sales performance since March 2021.
The ONS warned that living standards are on course for the biggest drop on record, and with tech layoffs in the news – more than 2,000 UK tech workers have been laid off this year – it is understandable that workers are nervous about their employment and income levels, and worried about what happens next.
Some employers are stepping up, however, offsetting losses employees are feeling in their pockets with pay increases, one-off payments and other bonuses.
Earlier in the year, the ONS’ Business Insights report found that 5% of businesses with 250 or more employees had offered a one-off cost-of-living payment to their workers in the spring period. It also found that among smaller firms, the rate was just 1%.
Some of the companies that stepped up to help staff were Barratt, Taylor Wimpey, Lloyds, Rolls-Royce, and HSBC.
More recently, a poll conducted by the Chartered Management Institute of more than 1,000 managers at companies and public sector organisations found that only one in 10 had given a pay rise of more than 5% to their staff this year, 33% of companies have given pay increases between 3-5%, and around one in 10 had given no basic pay increase at all.
Twenty percent of companies are giving their workers additional perks in the form of travel or parking subsidies or shopping vouchers. Others, such as Virgin Media O2, are giving additional payments. The company announced in October that it will give payments totalling £1,400 to employees earning £35,000 and under.
In professional services, PwC staff earning £50,000 or less will receive special payments of between £1,000 and £1,500 spread over the next five months, and anyone earning under £40,000 will receive the full amount.
In the banking sector, HSBC and Nationwide are giving those on lower pay scales bonuses of £1,500 or £1,200 and retailer John Lewis is giving its full-time staff a one-off cost of living payment of £500 (part-timers will receive a lesser payment).
If you’re looking to make a move to a company that will support you through the next year and beyond, we’re taking a look at three open roles below. And there are many more to discover on the City AM Job Board.
Technology, Data & Analytics is the largest single group of technologists within PwC. The Senior Manager – IB Data Finance/Ops/Front Office will be joining a team which works with leading global banks and capital markets firms on a range of regulatory and business change programmes applying data expertise combined with knowledge of controls, industry and regulation. You’ll need experience of working with complex data within the banking sector in the front office, finance or risk with a focus on wholesale banking. Get the full details here.
The Service Designer will design end-to-end services that enable customers to thrive. With significant investment being made to transform the organisation, this is an incredible opportunity for a passionate designer to make a big impact. As well as researching and documenting current state services and experiences, you’ll get hands-on to conceptualise and prototype future services. Working with researchers, you’ll shape plans to make sure Lloyds is always led by colleague, customer and market insight when creating or enhancing propositions and services. Find out more here.
The Security Program Manager – EMEA will support the design, implementation, and ongoing management of critical security programs, including but not limited to, event security, workplace emergency response, and employee security awareness training. If you’re capable of operating in a matrixed organisation and working cross-functionally with other leaders and teams on physical security programs, this could be the role for you. You will be tasked with developing a robust, scalable, and risk-based event security program to enable the close support of critical internal and external events across the regions and will support the design and rollout of an effective event tiering system which identifies risk criteria to ensure security support measures. Apply for the role here.