Following the way global inflation ran roughshod over workers around the world, one would think that things could at least turn for the better in 2023. Sadly, experts opine this may not be the case in the United Kingdom.

The UK ended 2022 with an unprecedented number of strikes in numerous industries, including critical areas like public healthcare, transportation, and even the national postal service as workers demanded increased wages in order to offset the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

As inflation in the country went into double digits, wages in virtually all sectors appear to have stagnated, leaving many people to worry about coping with the rising cost of both food and energy. 

What do the Experts Have to Say?

Protest marches and halted operations notwithstanding, experts believe that it will take some time before workers get some relief.

According to a report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in the last week of 2022, it is expected that inflation may cause the amount of the average British worker’s pay packet to drop back to where it was in 2006. Indeed, after factoring in the impact of inflation, real wages fell by around 3% last year and may drop by an additional 2% in the coming months.

PwC senior economist Barret Kupelian says that, as 2022 proved a challenging year for both the domestic and global economies, aftershocks may continue to be felt within the new year.

A Bit of Hope

Despite the report’s initially grim tone, it also presents a glimmer of hope for the working class. Salary issues notwithstanding, over 300,000 citizens who lost their jobs during the pandemic may rejoin the workforce this year. This could reduce economic stagnation and remedy staffing issues currently affecting highly-skilled industries.

An increase in immigrants to the UK may also prove to be a boon to the economy, as this could directly add $23 billion to the British economy and improve the growth of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 1%. Jake Finney, an economist for PwC, explained that this is because the UK remains an appealing workplace for migrant workers from overseas.

Interestingly, the UK registered a record 1.1 million immigrants in the past year, the total driven by refugees from conflict-torn Ukraine and Afghanistan. However, even record immigration levels have not helped the country in terms of its post-pandemic employment recovery measures. There were around 1.3 million job vacancies, particularly in service-driven fields like hospitality and retail, reported early in 2022 and the number only fell slightly as the year progressed into its fourth quarter.