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Are we seeing a two speed recovery? Sector Reaction to ONS labour market stats

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The latest Labour market Information released by ONS today (15 Jul), reveal jobs vacancies have hit nearly a million – while long-term unemployment reaches highest in five years. 

Record vacancy figures disguise a “two speed recovery” with many of those out of work missing out.

However, on this World Youth Skills Day, it’s important to note the that these figures don’t match the reality for all sectors, and that there is still a growing demand for skilled young graduates in the jobs market. Reassuringly, it’s great to see that youth unemployment rate for young people (those aged 16 to 24 years) has decreased on the quarter.

When youth employment figures rise, so does the competition. Young candidates should look to get all the chances on their side by continuously learning and expanding on their skill sets, especially with digital skills being so highly in demand.

Geoff Smith Grayce CEO for website 500x500Geoff Smith, CEO, Grayce, comment on youth employment rising:

“It’s encouraging to see that youth employment levels are starting to showing some signs of recovery. These digitally native individuals can add a huge amount of value to the UK workforce, particularly at a time when much of the world has been forced online and the need for tech-focussed skillsets has never been greater. We’ve seen first-hand how the demand for skilled professionals in change, data and tech has grown, now servicing 65% more clients than we were in 2016. 

“However, if youth employment figures continue to rise, it’s important to bear in mind that there will be huge competition for each open vacancy. To stand out against other candidates, it’s important for young people to continuously learn and develop new skillsets even after they leave education. This will not only help improve their chances of employability today, but also future proof their career for tomorrow. Of course, in our digital-first world, technical skills development will continue to be important but individuals that show a curiosity and willingness to learn have a better chance of remaining relevant and helping their organisations embed the latest technologies into their operations.”

Rishi Sunak 100x100Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

 “As we approach the final stages of reopening the economy, I look forward to seeing more people back at work and the economy continuing to rebound.

“We are bouncing back – the number of employees on payrolls is at its highest level since last April and the number of people on furlough halved in the three months to May.

“Our Plan for Jobs will continue to create jobs and help people back in to work, through schemes like Kickstart, traineeships and apprenticeships.”

Tony Wilson 100x100Tony Wilson, IES Director said:

“Today’s figures show that the jobs recovery continued to pick up pace through spring as restrictions eased. As we expected, the single-month estimate of job vacancies for June was the highest figure ever recorded, smashing the previous record and driven by rises across nearly all industries. Payrolled employment also saw its strongest ever growth, with young people particularly benefiting.  However despite this good news, long-term unemployment continues to rise – hitting its highest in more than five years, with long-term unemployment for older workers now at its highest since 2014. There are now more unemployed people than there are those still on full furlough, and with the economy creating jobs we need to be doing far better at helping unemployed people to fill them. If we don’t, then we’re risking a two speed recovery with those who lost their jobs last year being left behind.”

Stephen Evans LW 100x100Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute, said: 

“The labour market shows strong signs of recovery as the economy reopens, with a record rise of 356,000 in payroll employment in June and online vacancies back above pre-pandemic levels. Nonetheless, there are still 206,000 fewer people in work than in March 2020, and long-term unemployment is rising fast, up around 50% on pre-crisis levels. 

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“Despite this, some employers report difficulties recruiting, showing we need to increase support for people to look for work. We need to avoid an uneven recovery with some areas and groups missing out. The continuing easing of restrictions is likely to aid recovery in the months ahead, but the end of furlough in the autumn means full labour market recovery is likely to take years.”

Steve Haines 100x100Steve Haines, Director of Public Affairs at youth charity Impetus is urging the Government to address youth unemployment:     

“We’re beginning to see an uneven recovery, with young people bearing the brunt.

“The government needs to do more to support young people who have fallen out of work – while unemployment for 18-24-year-olds is marginally lower than this time last year, over one in five of them are long-term unemployed, compared to one in eight 12 months ago. We are fast approaching the end of furlough when we’ll see hundreds of thousands more young people out of the labour market, and they will join those leaving education on the list of those looking for work.

“Over a year ago the Prime Minister promised an ‘Opportunity Guarantee’ for young people, we need to see targeted support to address the young people worst affected by the crisis.”

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of NCUB said:

“Whilst it is positive that the numbers of vacancies are now above pre-pandemic levels, now is no time for complacency. There are still 206,000 fewer workers on the payroll than before the pandemic. What’s more, young people are still bearing the brunt of the impact. Without assistance, young people will continue to face unemployment, and employers will lose out on the innovative, talented workforce they critically need to recover post Covid-19. According to recent ONS statistics, 321,000 young people have been out of work for up to 6 months, and 112,000 have been unemployed for up to 12 months. Indeed 92,000 18 to 24 year olds have been unemployed for over 12 months now. On top of this, the furlough scheme is nearing its end and we will undoubtedly see hundreds of thousands more young people out of the labour market.”

Marshall concluded: “However, it is not all doom and gloom. We are making positive steps towards recovery. And in order to maintain this momentum, we are calling on the Government to continue initiatives such as the Kickstart scheme, that was announced as part of their Plan for Jobs. The scheme is due to end at the end of 2021. The Kickstart scheme is a lifeline for many of the nation’s unemployed young people. This commitment will help continue to create jobs and help get young people back in to work. This will be vital for the country’s long-term recovery.”

Jannine Chamberlin, UK Country Manager at LinkedIn, said:

“It is great that we’re seeing an increase in remote roles that are being posted on our platform. Over the past year, many businesses have had to adapt to a fully remote model, which has been hard for some but has opened the doors to talent outside of the local area and to individuals who previously could not make it into an office.

“Companies are now listening to the needs of their current and potential employees and considering new talent from areas and backgrounds that they previously had to dismiss. This will not only help businesses, but will also provide opportunities to many who haven’t had them before.” 

“Today’s ONS statistics are good news for the jobs market but a shortage of quality candidates threatens a full recovery”.

David Morel, the CEO of Tiger Recruitment, said:

“Today’s ONS data is the good news that the jobs market has been waiting for. The unemployment rate is down, total hours worked is up whilst the number of job vacancies has surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 15 months. As Covid restrictions ease and office life starts to resume, there has been a sharp rise in hiring activity, with ONS data showing that the rate of recovery is highest, perhaps unsurprisingly, in human health and social work.  

“However, a full and sustained jobs market recovery relies on having the right talent to fill the jobs available. This has been challenging due to people being reluctant to change roles throughout the pandemic, compounded by the fact that there are fewer non-UK nationals from the EU available for work. Quality candidates are being snapped up and employers hoping to secure their first choice will need to act quickly. They’ll also need to offer a competitive salary and benefits package, with flexible working as standard.”

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