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Feedback on latest ONS job data remains optimistic, but cautious

Miles Lloyd, CEO, Outsauce welcomed the news as “positive for Britain” but highlighted that while more people are in work, wages are stagnating.

“Today’s employment figures are fantastic news for the UK economy and great for those seeking work as opportunities are clearly on the rise, but on the flipside the competitive job market is driving down the cost of labour leading to a very real squeeze wages.

“The temporary workforce is a huge driver of the economic growth the UK is experiencing, but people choosing to work on temporary contracts need to protect themselves by using a compliant structure that helps them to maximise their take home pay and counter the effects of sluggish wage growth.”

Outsauce, which delivers PAYE, limited company and CIS solutions to contractors working throughout the UK has doubled its client base over the last 12 months.

Miles concludes: “I would urge anybody securing temporary work contracts to opt for a compliant contractor PAYE solution which will both protect them and greatly simplify the burden of accounting.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, also commented, “As the nationwide skills shortage begins to bite, employers are slowly starting to wind up wages. Salary growth has started to speed up over the last two months in particular. Between May and June, advertised salaries grew 1.7% - double the rate of growth witnessed between April and May (0.6%). Salaries are picking up pace and the gap in real wages is starting to close. And the recovery is filtering out to the fringes of the country too – with wages rising in ten out of twelve regions in June.

“But despite the positive sentiment in the employment market, there is still a way to go before salaries equal post-recession highs. Advertised salaries have fallenby &pound1,054 in real terms over the last year – and it will still take time to claw that missing money back. Even though salaries are starting to show signs of growth, it is unlikely that the Bank of England will raise interest rates until the emerging signals become a much more sustained trend."

Dan Langford, group marketing director at Acorn, a leading recruitment and training agency based in Wales, said, “The latest employment and jobless figures provide strong evidence of a continuing strengthening economy.

“With employment up 167,000 in the last three months and unemployment down 132,000 across the UK we have now witnessed the biggest fall in the jobless total in 25 years.

“And while the unemployment rate in Wales at 6.7% may be slightly lagging behind the UK average of 6.4%, the employment picture right across the Wales continues to improve, with 3,000 fewer people out of work than in the last quarter.

“The other encouraging aspect of the current employment outlook for Wales is the ongoing increase in the number of jobs that are available. While there will continue to be regional variations across the country – and there is a growing concern about skills shortages in a number of key growth sectors – the underlying trend is one of increased confidence in the future hiring prospects of employers.

“Hopefully, this is further indication that due to increasing productivity and output, the private sector continues to bring more and more people into the workplace.

“It is clear the road to decent growth will continue to have its ups and downs, but the labour market is continuing to move in the right direction.”

 David Rudick, VP International Markets, Indeed.com, said, “ONS figures released today reveal that unemployment has dropped to its lowest level since the end of 2008 - a great sign of a recovering economy. But as employment continues to rise, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire people who the right fit for the job. In a reverse trend, there are now employment gaps, with a number of industries lacking the number of skilled workers to fit the vacancies, according to a report released by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

“With the UK facing a skills gap, the obvious resolution would be to look beyond the UK to find the best talent. Our research uncovers that there is certainly an appetite for it. Indeed’s recent review of the international job market revealed that the UK is the third most desirable job market worldwide, with over 9% of job searches in the UK coming from international sources. This reveals a gap in intent and actual job movement, which may suggest that current policies are preventing international job seekers from filling much-needed skilled positions in the UK. If we are to continue to improve the economy and fill the gaps in the job market, the government needs to reassess visa and migration policies for skilled workers to allow for better international workforce mobility.”

Ian Temple, chairman of Hydrogen, said, “Although unemployment on an annual basis is falling, this is not yet having an impact on wage inflation. Additionally, the introduction of bonus caps is hindering  wage growth.   Despite an increased availability of jobs, at this point people are placing less emphasis on increased remuneration and more on simply securing a role. However, in the recruitment industry, we are seeing increased demand for talent in key areas such as legal, financial services, energy and pharmaceuticals, where a reduced supply of talent has given the upper hand in negotiation to the candidate, securing them increased packages and competitive counter offers.”  

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said, “It’s encouraging to see the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest since 2008 with far more opportunities being created for young people.

“While disappointing this month, we would expect wage growth to pick up over time, but this can only go hand-in-hand with improving productivity.”

On the CBI’s Future Possible report:

“The latest figures are very upbeat, but we cannot ignore the fact that far too many young people are still out of work. Youth unemployment was rising even in the good times and is still high enough to fill Wembley Stadium over eight times.

“We cannot squander the talent of a generation and leave them at the back of the queue in life. Young people should be equipped with the skills they need to succeed and given the chance to show what they’re made of.

“Business, government and schools must do more to increase opportunities for young people to make their way in work and life. We also need a network of Back to Work Coordinators across the country who can bring together the well-intentioned but confusing web of support and advice that currently exists to help young people back into employment. A tailored, more personal approach is what’s needed and is sadly what the current system lacks.

“The Low Pay Commission has done well to strike the right balance between protecting jobs whilst ensuring those on the minimum wage benefit as the economic recovery takes hold, so it’s vital it is allowed to steer clear of any political interference.”

Andy Chamberlain, Senior Public Affairs Manager at PCG, said, “The latest ONS statistics show that the number of self-employed professionals in the UK has hit 4.59 million, which means they now account for nearly a fifth of the UK’s workforce. These current trends suggest that by next year there will be more self-employed professionals than people working in the public sector.

“The self-employed continue to drive the economy forward. Not only are independent professionals contributing enormously to the economy, with PCG’s research showing a contribution of &pound95billion in 2013, this important sector is also going a long way to help bring the unemployment rate down to its lowest rate since 2008.

“The ONS figures back research released this week that the UK is the capital of self-employment in Europe and it’s high time that we recognise, embrace and celebrate this important sector. These enterprising individuals have made the brave decision to go it alone and the economy is reaping the rewards. Let’s continue to make it easier for the growing army of self-employed professionals by implementing tailored policies to help this important sector flourish and reach their full potential.”

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