From education to employment

Record vacancies highlight UK businesses’ need to innovate to attract staff

Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of vacancies at 845,000 for August to October 2018, the highest since comparable records began in 2001 – 44,000 more than for a year earlier and 14,000 more than for May to July 2018.

The unemployment rate was 4.1%, slightly higher than for April to June 2018 but lower than for a year earlier (4.3%). There were 1.38 million unemployed people, 21,000 more than for April to June 2018 but 43,000 fewer than for a year earlier. There were 32.41 million people in work, 23,000 more compared with April to June 2018 and 350,000 more than for a year earlier.

Comparing the estimates for employment by nationality (not seasonally adjusted) for July to September 2018 with those for a year earlier, EU nationals working in the UK fell by 132,000 to 2.25 million (the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997). Non-EU nationals working in the UK increased by 34,000 to 1.24 million.

Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy, Tom Hadley commenting on ONS figures:

“Although unemployment has slightly increased, employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need. We already have record numbers of vacancies, and the signs are that these skills shortages will further intensify over the next few months as EU workers no longer find the UK an attractive place to work.

“UK businesses will need to work with recruitment partners to innovate and review current hiring strategies – particularly, with regards to reaching out to under-represented groups.  At the same time, the case for a pragmatic, evidence-based immigration strategy that reflects staffing needs across all sectors has never been clearer. It is critical that there is a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU post-Brexit, so firms have the capacity to invest and grow here in the UK.”

Employment and labour market

UK labour market statistics: November 2018

Commenting on today’s labour market figures for July-September 2018, ONS senior statistician Matt Hughes said:

“The labour market is little changed on the previous three months, though still stronger than it was at this time last year.

“With faster wage growth and more subdued inflation, real earnings have picked up noticeably in the last few months. However, real wage growth is below the level seen in 2015, and real wages have not yet returned to their 2008 levels.

“The recent uptick in British nationals in work and the decline in workers from the so-called ‘A8’ eastern European countries both seem to be accelerating.”

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