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Nursing is 'recession proof' with wages less likely to fall in economic downturns

Data analysed by leading recruitment firm says occupation is 'protected' by public sector

New figures have revealed that nursing remains one of the most ‘recession-proof’ professions in the UK.

A decade worth of data from the Office of National Statistics has been examined by the recruitment firm Randstad Care which found only jobs in technology and social care have been more immune to economic downturns.

It found that from 2002-14 the total combined wage bill of nurses rose 23% from £10.3 billion to £12.7 billion.

Analysis of the figures found individual nurse wages fell on average by 5.4% from £33,358 to £31,559 in the same time period, but Randstad Care found in other jobs the fall was far more dramatic; as much as 43% in some cases.

The firm's analysts also found a 30% increase in the number of nurses in permanent employment in both the private and public sector, from 308,403 to 401,929, in the same time frame.

Randstad Care managing director Victoria Short called nursing a more ‘selfless profession’ which had been ‘protected’ from the worst of the last recession in 2007-10 thanks to being dominated by public sector employers.

She added: ‘It’s no secret that the NHS is faced with huge vacancy rates, so there are plenty of opportunities for UK workers who want to pursue a career in the profession.

‘Other occupations are far more cyclical and susceptible to trends and fashions, whereas there will always be a strong demand for good nurses.’

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