Workers across Wales are demonstrating above-average confidence in their job prospects, leading to increased pay expectations.

This is according to the latest Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index (JCI), an economic confidence tracker produced in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).

Rising Job Confidence and Pay Expectations

The JCI data reveals that 66% of Welsh workers are confident in their job security over the next six months, surpassing the national average of 60%. This optimism is reflected in pay rise expectations, with Welsh workers anticipating an average pay increase of 4.6% this year, higher than the national average of 3.8%.

However, fewer employees in Wales indicated they would take action—such as seeking a new role within their current company or changing employers—if a salary increase is not an option. Only 43% of Welsh workers would take such steps compared to 68% of UK respondents overall.

Analysis from Robert Half

James Fortnam, Market Director for Wales, Ireland, and Scotland at Robert Half, commented on the findings: “Job confidence across Wales is clearly high, and there are likely a number of reasons for this. Growing skills shortages coupled with recent reports that the country has the highest rate of economic inactivity are no doubt leading to staff feeling optimistic about demand for their skills.

While this has created an environment where pay rise expectations are higher than the national average, employers can be somewhat comforted by the fact that fewer people are likely to take direct action if they don’t receive the salary increase they are after. Of course, that doesn’t mean that businesses can ignore these high levels of confidence. Instead, it should be a catalyst for firms to consider their holistic employment packages and how elements such as tailored benefits packages or career progression programmes can act as more effective attraction tools.”

Addressing the Skills Shortage

The data indicates that the confidence of Welsh workers may be partially driven by a significant skills shortage and the high rate of economic inactivity reported in the region. These factors contribute to the perception of strong demand for skilled workers, boosting their job confidence and pay expectations.

Employers in Wales are encouraged to leverage this confidence by reassessing their employment packages. Enhancing benefits and offering clear career progression opportunities can serve as powerful tools for attracting and retaining talent, especially in a competitive job market.

Holistic Employment Packages

While high job confidence and pay rise expectations present a challenge, they also offer an opportunity for employers to innovate their approach to employee retention and satisfaction. By focusing on comprehensive benefits packages and career development programmes, businesses can create a more attractive and supportive work environment, mitigating the risk of losing valuable employees.

For businesses, understanding and adapting to these trends is crucial. As Welsh workers show strong confidence in their job prospects, employers must respond proactively to maintain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining skilled professionals.