UK Employment Increases, but is there a skills shortage?
UK employment is on the up, a continuing trend, according to the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest labour market report. For the period February to April 2015, 73.4% of people aged 16-64 were in work, up from 72.7% in the same period last year.
The unemployment rate for the period was 5.5%, down from 6.6% a year ago. The employment rate is highest here in the South-West, at 77.3% and lowest in Northern Ireland (68.4%).
At the same time, the Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) released its first monthly contingent labour workforce update. It shows that over a fifth of the UK’s workforce work on a contingent basis, particularly those in the 16-24 and 50-64 age brackets. The proportion of self-employed people remain a significant proportion of the labour market.
Also this morning, the Department for Work and Pensions released figures showing wages have grown faster than at any point since 2007, with annual real wage growth now at 2.7%.
This all reads very positively, but there are signs that the recovery rate may be slowing down, for example advertised salaries have begun to plateau.
There is also a skills shortage dampening the recovery in sectors like IT and manufacturing. Many business leaders believe that this is hampering productivity and holding back economic recovery. Joy Bruce, Senior Consultant in the IT Division of Bond Williams comments “Nationally, in IT, coders, programmers, developers are all in short supply. However, employment in the IT industry is expected to grow at nearly five times the UK average over the next decade. We are fortunate in Bournemouth to benefit from graduates in these areas and we work hard to match skilled IT graduates to specialist roles for our clients”.