Expert view: UK and British Isles Jobs Markets in 2020

2020 Insight: UK and Channel Islands Jobs Markets

We can all agree 2020 has been... a lot! The pandemic has brought with it one of the biggest shake-ups to the job markets in modern history with huge job losses and instability. Instead, with the help of our resident expert and Director of UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, Tom Smelt; we will highlight the positives and talk about the solution for employers, employees and job seekers alike. So, before we dive into our Q&A with Tom here’s the good news:

  • Finance job vacancies in the British Isles rose 53 per cent in the three months to the end of September, compared to the previous quarter. 
  • Salaries in the British Isles remain generous, with the average monthly salaries averaging between £2,500 and £3,000
Interview with Tom Smelt on UK and British Isles job markets.

Here’s what he has to say on the current state of the job market in the UK and British Isles during the pandemic and what that will mean down the line. 


How are the jobs across these markets bearing up under the strain of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Some industries are fairing a lot worse than others. Retail and hospitality have both really taken a hit in the UK, but online gaming, financial services and other service-based roles that we work in across the Isle of Man and Channel Islands are doing much better.

We surprisingly saw a lot of confidence even back in march to build great talent and strong teams because of the quick shift to digital products and processes. Luckily, we are still seeing this confidence across igaming in the islands today.


What sectors are offering the most job opportunities in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man in 2020 and beyond?

We have a large number of open roles for trust officers – the trust companies in Jersey have huge demand for people right now. If someone has a very good background in trust funds or private banking then they’re flying, because that person could choose from 15 to 20 jobs around the market at the moment. But they would need to have a Jersey license to work in Jersey.

We have seen very little change for the demand in online gaming job roles – particularly those that demand very specific skill sets such as regulatory and compliance across different markets. Marketing with skills in SEO, PPC – we are seeing those with online digital marketing skills are increasingly in demand since Covid-19 hit the isles.

Likewise, the iGaming industry is looking for players who aren’t in known markets, especially as it looks to expand in the Asian and American markets. So any marketing consultant across Asia is going to be really valuable too.


Have you seen a shift in salary expectations or benchmarks since Covid-19 across these areas?

Of course – companies have a lot of choice of different candidates right now where there are fewer roles available per candidate, so that will always drive salaries down. That said, the markets always ebb and flow, and we should see them stabilise again and even grow after the pandemic.


More than eight in 10 employers are planning to accelerate digitization and offer more remote working opportunities, according to a recent study on the future of jobs. Is this the case in these markets, and if so, how is this affecting the skill sets employers want?

Most people we know have been working from home, and have been doing so since March. But it’s very different geographically, because while the UK has been going through its second lockdown, the Isle of Man has very few cases due to the island’s borders remaining closed to non-residents (unless they have been given special permission).

In the UK, those who work in online gaming have been working from home. However, on the Isle of Man and Jersey, people in financial services have gone into the office – they’ve not had a lockdown in the same way.


What is life like in these jurisdictions both under normal circumstances and with Covid-19 restrictions in place?

As we’ve mentioned, on the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands life is relatively normal: there’s not really a lockdown, however the ports may be closed to civilians so anyone working on the mainland might be a little restricted or looking to visit is quite restricted. On the whole though, life on the islands is pleasant. The Isle of Man is quite green so there’s plenty of opportunity to explore the country, play outdoors in fields. It’s generally a bit wetter and colder than say the Channel Islands though because of its location, but there’s still plenty to do culturally. In general, the island is very family-focused. It’s also quite an affluent, wealthy jurisdiction so there are a lot of nice properties and pubs.

The Channel Islands are very similar to the Isle of Man, however with the additional benefit of warmer weather. There are also some amazing restaurants in Jersey for example that have the French influence. And there’s also some awesome beaches with a real surfing culture. In terms of the UK, a second lockdown makes things quite difficult with restaurants, cafes and pubs closed. However normally the major cities are largely busy.


What impact, if any, do you expect Brexit to have on the jobs market in these jurisdictions over the next 12 months? 

So far this year, coronavirus has basically masked Brexit. At the start of the year, we were concerned about how things would go – particularly in the UK.

Really, it’s just a lot of unknowns. It doesn’t bring confidence, and unfortunately if you haven’t got confidence in the markets that’s when massive recessions come in. There’s so much uncertainty in all aspects of our lives, which can be pretty worrying. That said, largely the industries we work in are quite stable, and fairly immune to external factors. I expect Brexit will be reasonably similar – we have seen these industries have always been strong and, on the whole, we are optimistic about the near future.



There is no doubt times are tough with many land-based sectors in the UK taking a big hit, but online gaming in the Isle of Man and financial services in the Channel Islands appear to be keeping the archipelago stable. In addition, with the UK furlough extended through to March 2021 and a pending vaccine globally, the British Isles and UK job market both possess an optimistic landscape as we approach 2021. 

If your business has been affected and you need advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. For more about the job markets in the Isle of Man specifically, you can check out our blog here.