Image: Flazingo Photos Image: Flazingo Photos

Salaries for new jobs fell 3.4% following the introduction of the National Living Wage, according to CV-Library.

Based on jobs advertised on its platform, CV-Library said the average salary for a new position was £32,899 in April, down from £34,055 in March. Separate figures from jobs market Adzuna.co.uk showed advertised salaries at a standstill in March.

The same period in 2015 showed an increase of 0.6%, suggesting that the decline in salaries is due to SMEs being forced to reduce costs for new employees as a result of wider economic uncertainty, from the new national living wage to the pending EU referendum, CV-Library said.

Struggles associated with the new national living wage have hit the retail sector the hardest, with average advertised salaries in the sector dropping by a staggering 8.9% month-on-month, pushing wages down from £31,594 to £28,762. The news comes at a troubling time for the sector as many brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to compete in today’s competitive landscape.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: “We anticipated a slight decline in wages this month as employers adjust to the new expenses associated with the national living wage, and businesses strive for stability ahead of a potential Brexit. With uncertainty ahead, it’s more important than ever that SMEs evaluate their hiring decisions and ensure they are making clever choices.”

Moving further into Q2 2016, the labour market will reveal how resilient it is to the shaky economic climate in the run-up to the EU referendumCV-Library urges small businesses to take matters into their own hands, and recommends smart recruitment as an important step in achieving stability.

Mr Biggins said: “Every new hire should be adding something to the bottom line, employers need to hire the best people to achieve long-term objectives. It’s also a good time to evaluate recruitment techniques and find cost-effective hiring solutions that will have direct and positive financial implications. Through smart recruitment, small businesses can find and retain talented professionals while still offering fair salary packages, without compromising on the bottom line.”

Despite the fall in salaries for new jobs, there was a 13.4% rise in job vacancies in April, compared with last year.