Articles by Smart Recruit Online

The Fastest Growing Industries in 2018

Growth | SRO

By Augusta Henning at CV-Library & Mark Stephens at Smart Recruit Online

2018 has certainly been a tumultuous year for the economy, with continued uncertainty around Brexit and a sweltering hot summer. As such, we’ve seen little movement in the labour market, with many candidates feeling nervous about changing jobs.

At the same time, employers are remaining confident and optimistic about their hiring plans. We’ve seen the amount of jobs advertised on CV-Library and on Smart Recruit Online, increase by 10% and 20% retrospectively this year.

Furthermore, some industry sectors have seen more significant growth. As such, based on the biggest increases in advertised jobs this year compared to 2017, CV-Library has pulled together their insights into the fastest growing industries in 2018.


CV-Library report and summary

The following data was generated by CV-Library and represents average salaries advertised by industry sector and the number of jobs advertised for the same sectors in both 2017 and 2018 as a direct comparison.


The following observations and assumptions were subsequently drawn by SRO and the CV-Library team, from the data itself:


With all the hysteria around GDPR this year, it’s not surprising to see the legal sector showing significant changes within the data. New legislation has put a lot of pressure on companies to carefully consider how they handle personal data. As such, we’ve seen advertised jobs in the legal industry grow by 26.6% in the last 12 months.

Alongside this, with ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, more companies are preparing for the future, which could be why we’ve seen such a sharp rise in demand for legal expertise.

In addition, companies are prepared to pay more (or need to pay more) in order to secure the best talent, with average pay for legal roles increasing by 8.8% in 2018.

Some of the biggest demands for legal professionals sit within the tech sector, where the need to protect intellectual property is extremely important. Alongside this, cyber security threats are forcing many companies to consider legal expertise in order to minimise potential damage.


While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the property market right now, most notably with economists predicting a downturn in property values, we actually saw advertised roles in this industry rise by 23.3% in 2018.

This is largely down to the fact that building activity has risen in the past few years. In fact, data from the National Housing Building Council (NHBC), found that new home registrations in Britain have reached their highest level in more than a decade.

As such, companies have been looking to hire more workers to service this demand. Most notably, there’s been a widespread demand for residential property managers.



Another sector that’s experience a tumultuous year is retail. Indeed, there’s been a number of mass store closures, from Toys R Us, to House of Fraser.

Yet, our data found that advertised jobs jumped up by 22.5%, suggesting that certain employers in the sector are confident about their hiring efforts and want to recruit top retail workers.

In fact, the BBC reported earlier in 2018 that there are shops that are defying the high street downturn. This includes the likes of JD Sports, Primark, Zara and Lush. In addition, the World Cup, Royal Wedding and a scorching summer gave the retail sector a further boost.

Most notably, while the high street is certainly evolving, this presents more exciting employment opportunities. Many retailers are focussing on hiring individuals that are willing to embrace digital and offer an exciting shopping experience that keeps consumers coming back for more.


Our data found that advertised roles in the technology industry increased by 19.1% this year, with advertised pay also increasing by an impressive 4.8%. This comes as no surprise, given that Tech Nation’s 2018 report found that tech is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the economy.

Technology is continuing to transform every single parts of our lives and in order to get ahead, businesses need to embrace the tech that’s going to help them innovate in years to come.

As such, there is a growing demand for individuals who can generate new ideas and bring in new skills. In fact, some of the most in-demand tech skills right now include machine learning, mobile development, data science, SEO and of course, IT Security.



Finally, the UK manufacturing industry saw advertised jobs increase by 14.8% in 2018. This is certainly an industry that’s been hard-hit by Brexit uncertainty, but it appears that it might not be all doom and gloom.

In fact, despite the industry seeing growth hit a 25-month low in August, the CBI Industrial Trends Survey found that manufacturing output growth picked up in the quarter to November.

Yet, the industry still faces a massive skills crisis and there are concerns that there simply isn’t enough talent to fill these roles. As such, there continues to be a strong demand for mechanical, software, electrical and civil engineers.

CV-Library summary and final thoughts

What’s most interesting is the fact that many of these industries are facing great uncertainty right now, thanks to the current economic climate.

And, with a massive shortage of workers, we’re seeing an increase in more traditional job board advertising in the above sectors, to counter the impact that this is having.


Smart Recruit Online summary and final thoughts

Overall, there was little correlation between increases in rates and job postings in 90% of the data and subsequently we needed to look outside of obvious data insights – ie at seasonal, regional, political and economic impacts.

Brexit for example is having a big influence in several areas including hospitality and farming, where most recruitment is traditionally done by referral (word of mouth) and outside of the UK job boards.

With a massive shortage of European workers, we are seeing an increase in more traditional job board advertising in these sectors to counter the impact this is having.

We could also consider the growth of the gig economy on seasonal and part time workers too.

Obviously the new data legislation had its impact, but we would have expected to see this within IT security more than the data indicates.

Overall, the data reflects the political and economic environment, but interestingly, despite the obvious caution around Brexit, the confidence levels within British industry remains upbeat and optimistic for 2019.