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Employment down 63,000 compared with the previous quarter

Comparing April to June 2015 with January to March 2015, the ONS said the number of people in employment fell by 63,000 (to reach 31.03 million), the number of unemployed people increased by 25,000 (to reach 1.85 million) and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not in the labour force (economically inactive) was little changed (at 8.99 million).

There were 31.03 million people in work, 63,000 fewer than for January to March 2015 but 354,000 more than for a year earlier.

There were 22.76 million people working full-time, 352,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.27 million people working part-time, little changed compared with a year earlier.

The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 73.4%, little changed compared with January to March 2015 but higher than for a year earlier (72.8%).

There were 1.85 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 25,000 more than for January to March 2015 but 221,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

There were 1.01 million unemployed men, 130,000 fewer than for a year earlier. There were 838,000 unemployed women, 92,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

The unemployment rate was 5.6%, little changed compared with January to March 2015 but lower than for a year earlier (6.3%). The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force (those in work plus those unemployed) who were unemployed.

There were 8.99 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), little changed compared with January to March 2015 and with a year earlier.

The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 22.1%, little changed compared with January to March 2015 and with a year earlier.

Comparing April to June 2015 with a year earlier, pay for employees in Great Britain increased by 2.4% including bonuses and by 2.8% excluding bonuses.

Steve Shepherd, employment market analyst at Randstad says that optimism in jobs market is not translating to wage growth.

He said, “Despite 20 consecutive months of growth in the number of job ads, today’s wage data indicates this pick-up is yet to flow through to wage growth.

“July was the third month in a row in which we saw an increase in full time jobs created. Yet, in trend and seasonally adjusted terms, wages have only grown 0.6%in the last quarter. This reflects a level of cautiousness and uncertainty from business.

“While there are jobs around and businesses are hiring, today’s figures show that people moving companies need to adjust their wage expectations. The state of the market may mean they won’t receive the salary increase usually associated with a career move.

“Year-on-year we’ve seen the gap between public and private sector wages expand. Workers in the public sector are receiving slightly faster increases, with 2.5 per cent growth in the last year compared to 2.2% in the private sector. Whist there is little in the job market to suggest why this would be the case, one reason may be the higher level of union representation across the public sector.

“We have seen increased demand for talent in a range of sectors from construction to financial services recently. While there has been a small amount of wage growth across the board, we are yet to see any industry boom or standout.”

Farida Gibbs, founder and CEO of Gibbs S3, commented, “The UK is now close to full employment after two years of solid growth.  However, while employment levels are still high, there is still a severe shortage of experienced, skilled workers in key technology-driven industries like oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and financial services.

“A lack of access to the right technology talent has a severe impact on a company’s ability to expand, and when the growth of international, blue chip companies falters it impacts the entire economy.  Working with some of the world’s biggest companies, we have seen the shortage is pushing up wages as more demand is placed on a dwindling pool of quality workers.

“It is more important than ever for expanding companies to invest in high quality personnel. Hiring under-skilled or inexperienced workers, especially technical specialists, can cause entire projects to fail and derail growth plans.  Firms must ensure they are able to balance the reward of a successful new hire with the risk of those that don’t measure up.

“Leading companies are increasingly demanding a hybrid approach to workforce solutions that are in tune with their specific business challenges across both long-term recruitment and for short-term projects. The challenge doesn’t end with getting top workers on board however, and firms must offer the most attractive incentives and growth prospects to staff to retain them. They must think outside the box and offer a complete package that extends beyond a competitive salary.”

Seb O'Connell, Cielo's executive vice president and managing director for Europe, commented, “Falling employment figures for the second month might be more than just a statistical anomaly, however we need to wait and see next month’s figures to have a quarterly view before drawing a conclusion.

“Organisations are likely to find a wider overall talent pool but should be prepared for a greater challenge to find the right candidate. This means they will need to be even more diligent about their recruitment and selection processes. In our experience, putting measures in place to check that candidates not only tick the & lsquo;skills and experience’ box, but also fit culturally is vital in order to ensure all employees can make an effective and positive impact on the business."

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has warned that the Government must provide better support to the self-employed if it wants to continue growing a flexible and healthy economy. Chief executive, Chris Bryce, said, “Today’s figures again show a fall in the number of self-employed people working in the UK compared to last year. The figures mirror IPSE’s own findings, which show a fall in the proportion of freelancers on assignment in the second quarter of the year.

“Considering a large proportion of jobs created in the past five years came from the self-employed community, the Government will be relying on this group to meet its ambition of an extra two million people in the labour market by the end of Parliament.

“We have yet to see the impact of the Summer Budget on the number of self-employed. IPSE is very concerned that some of the measures announced will make working for yourself more complicated, more expensive and less attractive. We need the Government to look at ways to encourage people to become self-employed and support those already working in this way.”



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