More people are employed today than at any point since records began in 1971, new figures show. The UK’s employment rate has reached its highest point since comparable records began in 1971, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics found that for the quarter January to March 2015, almost three quarters of people aged 16 to 64 (73.5%) are in work.
Unemployment has been falling for some time and, currently, the number of people out of work fell to 1.83million in the first quarter of the year, down 35,000 from the previous quarter. This tallies with what we are seeing here – not just more people finding work generally but more quality candidates having the confidence to jump back into job hunting, with a view to moving on up with a more ambitious or bigger company than their current employer.
“We are busier than ever and have found with the buoyant job market, candidates that have previously sat tight due to uncertainty in the market are now having their heads turned,” said Claire Bond, from Bond Williams. “This combined with companies having cut back their investments during financial uncertainty in terms of training and development, salary/bonus freezes and even leaner workforces has resulted in further movement now the market is more buoyant and also some businesses are much busier but with no capacity to take on extra workload.”
So it is most likely time to reward those staff who have stuck with you through the bad times, to ensure they remain loyal. If you already hold talent in those areas, they may prove hard to replace.
“Counter offers are also on the up, but psychologically if someone has handed their notice in or has been looking elsewhere, it would urge you to question whether they are still 100% invested in your business still – and, if so, how long are they going to stay?” Claire said. “My suggestion would be to invest in your people now before it’s too late, let them know their career paths, compensate them according to their market rate and invest in their training and development, longer term I would suggest it is a much better strategy and investment!”
Looking at the May/June Jobs Outlook report, REC chief executive Kevin Green said that businesses overall are looking to expand and hire more people in marketing and HR, in particular. And as the demand for employees grows, applicants can ask for a higher salary. Mr Green added: “It’s imperative that the new government gets to grips with skills shortages because a jobs crisis is looming. Recruiters are doing a great job at getting more and more people into work, but four in 10 of those recruiters say that the availability of candidates is getting worse each month.”
Last year, the chancellor George Osborne announced an ambition for the UK to reach ‘full employment’ and to have the highest employment rate in the G7 group of countries. One area they plan to tackle is jobs for under-21s. The youth unemployment rate has fallen, but remains nearly three times as high as the overall unemployment rate. However, the newly rejuvenated Conservatives have big plans to change that.
Next week: A closer look at apprenticeship schemes and David Cameron’s plans to encourage Dorset and Hampshire businesses to employ young people.