Tom Hadley, Recruitment & Employment Confederation Director of Policy has commented on today’s publication of labour market statistics by the Office for National Statistics (ONS):
“Today’s ONS data shows that unemployment dropped to 4.9 per cent before the referendum, underlining the strength of the UK labour market but also the difficulty employers face in attracting and hiring candidates due to a shrinking talent pool.
“Employers across the economy are struggling to deal with significant candidate shortages, in sectors such as engineering and technology as well as in public sector roles such as nursing and teaching. This challenge remains regardless of the vote to leave the EU. Our members tell us that clients continue to need more resource in order to meet demand, be that permanent or temporary staff.
“Policy-makers must provide clarity as soon as possible on the status of EU workers already in the UK, and ensure that employers can continue to access the people they need from Europe to fill the jobs available and safeguard sustainable economic and business success.”
Also responding to the latest ONS Labour Market statistics, Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:
“The latest employment figures underline the continuing strength of the UK’s flexible labour market and its ability to create jobs. The record number of people in employment and further reduction in unemployment also provide some much needed confidence in the health of the economy, particularly now the UK faces a period of uncertainty ahead of negotiations over its exit from the EU. The fall in unemployment for young people is especially welcome. However, it should be noted that most of the increase has come from more full time self-employed, with relatively little growth in employee employment.
“It is too early to say what effect the vote to leave the EU will have on employers’ recruitment and redundancy intentions over the next few months, but today’s figures at least provide some reassurance that the UK’s labour market is robust and had positive momentum before the referendum vote.
“Pay remains stable, with average weekly earnings increasing by 2.2% excluding bonuses, suggesting that a figure of about 2% is becoming the new normal.”