Labour Market: could the tide slowly be turning.

The country has been warned for months of a perilous economic outlook, a further squeeze on living standards, fewer jobs, and lower wages. But the ONS’ Labour Market Overview seemingly defies the odds.

Data published in June shows that despite the economic headwinds, the UK’s jobs market is surprisingly resilient. Employment is back to pre-pandemic levels, with a robust 33.1 million people in work, whilst unemployment remains at an impressive 3.8 percent, edging on record lows.

The tide might also be turning on the steady erosion of wages by inflation. ONS data showed that by April 2023, average regular pay growth was 7.6 percent for the private sector, and 5.6 percent for the public sector.

For the private sector, this is the largest regular growth rate seen outside the pandemic. This means that the 18-month long fall of real wages may have ended, a welcome break for workers the length and breadth of Britian. Although there is variation between sectors on the level of growth.

This should all come as a welcome respite for prospective and active candidates. Vacancies, despite a slight drop, remain higher than pre-pandemic levels and with wage rises, jobseekers can be more agile and seek out opportunities offering higher salaries elsewhere.

For many businesses and organisations there is a need to focus on retention and reflection. Retention of their current highly skilled workers and reflection on how they can remain competitive and present an attractive offering.

The jobs market, at least in the corporate affairs disciplines, does not yet reflect the trends noted above. In life sciences, hiring has slowed, perhaps reflecting a slow down in the immediate ‘post-pandemic’ boom and wider environmental factors around the UK’s competitiveness vis-à-vis more attractive localities. As a specialist corporate affairs headhunting firm, with an expert health and life sciences practice, we are well positioned to enable you to navigate the unpredictable jobs market.  If you’d be interested in having a conversation around hiring, please contact us.

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