Nursing has been named as one of the most “recession proof” occupations in the UK in terms of job security.
Analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics by recruitment firm Randstad Care has found that the collective wages paid to nurses across the country has risen 23% in the past 12 years.
This is despite an average real terms cut to individual nurse salaries of around 5% in the same period, according to the analysis.
“The fact nursing jobs are dominated by public sector employers is why workers were sheltered from the worst of the job cuts”
This indicates the profession can offer relative job security in spite of the global financial downturn and is expected to “remain relatively unaffected by economic volatility for the foreseeable future”, according to those behind the research.
Figures from the ONS appear to back this up, showing the number of nurses in permanent employment across public and private sectors over the past decade has grown by around 30% from 308,000 in 2002 to just over 400,000 in 2014.
Only two other occupations in the UK were ranked above nursing as being more “recession proof” by Randstad, due to their larger increases in aggregate wages – the technology and social care sectors.
Total wages paid to technology professionals increased by more than 80% between 2002 and 2014, despite an average 11% drop in their individual salaries.
During the same time, the wage bill for social workers increases by 25%, but employee salaries dropped by 4%.
“[Nursing is not] completely immune to the vagaries of the economy and the drop in real wages portrays a sector reeling from a series of cuts”
Victoria Short, managing director of Randstad Care, said: “The fact that nursing jobs are dominated by public sector employers is one of the reasons it is considered to be one of the most recession-proof occupations and why its workers were sheltered from the worst of the job cuts when the financial crisis really started to bite.”
However, she noted: “That doesn’t mean it is completely immune to the vagaries of the economy and the drop in real wages in recent years portrays a sector reeling from a series of cuts, as part of the government’s austerity measures.”
She added that previous research carried out by Randstad Care suggested job security was more important than remuneration to people working in healthcare.
“These statistics would suggest that nursing is a solid selection for individuals concerned about their long-term prospects,” said Ms Short.