The past few years have been financially tough for just about everyone in the UK. The financial crisis saw a downturn not only in prosperity but also in morale as the British population was forced to pay the price for a neo-liberal disaster which was not of their making.
The good news is that all analysis points to the fact that we have weathered the storm and that the first green shoots of recovery, whilst slow, are beginning to show. Despite the lingering reality of far-reaching cuts to the public sector, the economy is looking more promising than it has for some years.
What this means for your pay cheque will depend hugely on the industry and sector within which you work but let's take a look at a few of the wider implications.
Reductions in unemployment
While it's important to be aware of the growth of part-time jobs and unpaid internships, it remains the case that employment is on the rise. As more positions become available across the UK, now is the time for those who have been struggling under such circumstances to move into full-time, properly paid positions.
The next step for the government is to introduce a living wage which will guarantee these struggling workers a decent standard of living.
Moving beyond minimum wage
John Cridland - the director general of the UK's most prominent lobbying group for business, CBI – has recommended an increase in pay to reflect the positive forecasts for the UK economy. Speaking to the BBC,Cridland explained that a growing economy has to reward those who are workingfor it:
“The message is, if the economy is growing, we can have everybody swim upwards.”
Cridland expressed his concern that too many workers in the UK are stranded in jobs which pay minimum wage and offer little or no chances for progression. He spoke about the responsibility for this issue, noting that it poses a “serious challenge that businesses and the government must address”.
Of course, in order for businesses to pass better wages onto their employees they need to know that they can afford it. A number of senior figures and government reports may be communicating good news about the economy but until businesses are blessed with a little more leeway in their own finances it is impossible for them to implement any meaningful changes for their workers.
If businesses are using well designed accountancy software, they should be able to recognize the positive changes to their financial situation moving into 2014. Making use of online payroll software should make it possible for businesses to understand how much more they are able to pay their employees and to take deliberate action to this end.
The growth of the UK economy seems a likelihood moving into 2014 and it will be the job of government and businesses to see that the return to prosperity is something which can be felt and shared by people on all rungs of the employment ladder.