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ONS unemployment figures; A comment from Robert Half UK

ONS unemployment figures A comment from Robert Half UK

Andy Dallas, associate director, Robert Half UK said:

“Interestingly, these figures don’t tell the whole story. Despite the slight rise in the overall unemployment figure, there are numerous companies who are still looking to fill much needed roles, particularly in professional occupations. This is partly evidenced in the fact that there were 45,000 more people employed in the private sector in the last three months. However, despite continued uncertainly within the general UK jobs market, many businesses report challenges in finding and retaining skilled professionals who can help them grow through a volatile environment. Candidates who have developed a & lsquo;specialism’ are finding it much easier to get placement. In many cases we are seeing a reliance on specialised temporary and interim professionals to support key initiatives when a permanent hire cannot be made.

“Recent research conducted by Robert Half shows that a net 12% of UK executives plan to add permanent, professional-level staff during the first half of 2012. Roles that companies are struggling to fill are within IT, financial services, accountancy and human resources, with candidates offering key skills and the ability to provide a return-on investment snapping up these opportunities. The bottom line is that job seekers should not be disheartened. Companies are still hiring skilled professionals and registering with a recruiter who specialises in their chosen field will give them an advantage over the competition.”


Commenting on the latest Public Sector Employment figures from ONS for Q4 2011, Matt Gascoigne, Executive Director at recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark said

"Today’s employment figures have continued to paint a bleak picture for the UK workforce.  Unsurprisingly, the public sector is bearing a considerable brunt of the pain with the austerity measures continuing to take their toll. This has been further highlighted in our close dealing with the public sector where we have seen the housing sector hit the hardest.

“The trend for employers to be ever more picky about skills and experience shows no sign of abating, making the process of finding work much tougher for job seekers in both the public and private sectors.”

There are 2.67 million reasons that Britain needs a Budget for jobs, says REC


The number of unemployed currently stands at 2.76 million and is expected to rise further in tomorrow’s ONS figures, there has never been a more important time for a Chancellor to deliver a decisive budget for growth and jobs.  

In its letter to the Chancellor, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) - the representative body for the UK's &pound25 billion recruitment industry – is calling on the Chancellor to be bold in his Budget next week.

Commenting ahead of the Budget, Kevin Green, the REC’s Chief Executive, said:

“There is no quick-fix solution to the challenges facing the UK economy and labour market. However, we are counting on the Chancellor to prioritise jobs and growth and to announce practical measures to help the UK's 2.67 million unemployed get back to work.

"Employer confidence is key to job creation which is why next week's Budget must send out a positive message to the business community. The UK recruitment industry can be an engine for growth which is why we need practical measures to remove bureaucracy.

"We have started to see some glimmers of light for the jobs market. The Chancellor must seize the opportunity to accelerate the UK jobs comeback and create a step-change in private sector growth and job creation.”

The REC has recommended three paths to recovery for the UK labour market:

Reducing bureaucratic burdens – both new and existing regulations are still a serious hindrance to growth in the UK

Accelerating growth – developing the right climate in which businesses feel confident enough to innovate, invest and create new jobs

Boosting competitiveness –  introduce incentives which will improve the competitiveness of UK businesses

On the first measure, the REC calls for a meaningful review of the impact the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) have had on agencies. The REC has also called for a radical overhaul of domestic regulations such as Employment Agencies Act and the rules governing the way VAT is charged on the supply of temporary staff.

On recent employment initiatives, the REC welcomes the overall aim of the Government’s Youth Contract. However, more needs to be done in terms of financial incentives for employers and developing a robust careers guidance network for young people that is fit for purpose.


REC comment on latest unemployment figures

Unemployment figures are up today by another 28,000 in the three months up until January but are still being recorded as 2.67 million people who are now out of work, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data.

Commenting on the latest numbers, Kevin Green, the REC’s Chief Executive said:

“Unemployment is continuing to creep up but the rate of increase is slowing down. Hopefully, this is a sign that unemployment is starting to bottom out.

"It is also encouraging to note that the private sector created 45, 000 new jobs and public sector lost only 34,000 which means that actual employment has increased by 9,000. This fits with the REC/KPMG Report on Jobs which showed growth in permanent placements reaching a nine month high and is continuing to prove an excellent predictor of what is happening in the jobs market. Today’s data also ties in with the more upbeat feedback from recruitment professionals on the ground and with recent reports of increasing employer confidence.

“Employment remains a major concern and today's figures confirm that extra measures are needed to kick-start the UK labour market. There are still 2.67 million reasons to ensure that jobs and growth are at the heart of the Budget next week.”


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