From education to employment

Record number of women in work as wages continue to outstrip inflation

Employment rate for women has hit an all-time high for second quarter running

It’s been announced today (13 Aug) that the employment rate for women has hit an all-time high for the second quarter running. The Office for National Statistics included the figure within the data in this month’s labour market overview, which show the number of people in work is at a record high of 32.8 million, a rise of over 3.7 million since 2010. UK employment rate is at joint record high 76.1%, as number in work reaches 32.8 million, and wages surpass inflation for the 17th consecutive month.

Talking about how the recent news is a milestone for women shows the progress being made, but women also need to be retained and nurtured within an organisation. Karen Thomson, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said:

“Today is a milestone for women and shows the progress being made to ensure more women are entering into the workplace, especially as these record high rates are continuing to grow. Whilst great strides have been made in driving gender equality within organisations, there’s still an ocean of gender inequality left for us to conquer.

“There are many steps that organisations can implement to facilitate a diverse and inclusive work environment. Organisations should be striving towards eradicating their gender pay gap, implementing inclusive recruitment processes and supporting women to apply for senior positions. However, one major factor preventing gender equality is the pipeline problem. Driving the recruitment of women at all levels in organisations, from graduate and apprentice levels to mid-management levels will be vital if organisations are to address the low number of women in senior-management level positions.

“We also should be looking further than just at recruitment. Women need to be retained and nurtured within an organisation. The introduction of a women’s business network, for instance, can be vital in ensuring women are equipped with the support, advice and networking opportunities they need to grow and succeed in the workplace. The future does look bright for women in the UK, and if organisations are to deliver real change, they must commit to a big vision that will fight unacceptable inequality.”

Employment rate is 76.1%

New figures from the Office for National Statistics also show the UK workforce is more gender diverse than ever before, with the number of women climbing to a new record high and ethnic minority employment rate at a near record high, now making up 51% and 32% of employment growth respectively since 2010.

Sectors such as manufacturing and construction are experiencing the big increase in number of jobs, with 85,000 more people employed in the last year.

Wages are also on the up this month outstripping inflation for a 17th month, boosting consumer confidence and spending power for millions – with real term total wage growth hitting 1.8%.

Meanwhile UK unemployment rate remains steady at 3.9% – as the number of unemployed people continues fall in every region of the UK since 2010.

Unemployment rate is 3.9%

Today’s statistics also show the number of disabled people in work increasing by 1.15 million in the last 6 years – and an increase of 246,000 disabled people in employment in the last year.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Minister for Women and Equalities, Amber Rudd said:

More people in work than ever before means more households across the UK are earning a regular income, and millions more receiving a pay boost thanks to wages rising at their fastest in a decade – outstripping inflation for a 17th month in a row.

Our workforce increasingly reflects our vibrant society, with a record number of women in employment while the number out of work falls to an all-time low.

This week many young people will receive their A level results and begin their career journey. They should know that they are entering a workforce that is flourishing and full of opportunity and I hope all young people, especially women, feel empowered to flourish in every role in every sector.

The government is helping even more people benefit from a well-paid job by:

  • backing businesses to create good jobs with the modern Industrial Strategy – including strengthening workers’ rights, and tightening the rules for big businesses
  • investing in infrastructure, training and apprenticeships we need for our future, with public investment at its highest in 40 years
  • introducing Universal Credit – better supporting people move into work faster and stay in it longer
  • supporting employers to recruit, re-train and retain older workers to stay in work longer with our Fuller Working Lives strategy
  • tackling employment inequalities with targeted support in 20 UK regions and £90 million to help support young people

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