ONS: UK unemployment at 10-year low as labour market becomes increasingly candidate-led

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveal that British unemployment has fallen to 5.1%. But as the labour market is becoming increasingly candidate-led, employers worry about a potential Brexit.

The UK unemployment figures fell to a ten-year-low in the three months to November. 1.68 million people were out of work in the three-month period. While employment has improved, the growth of average weekly earnings was up by only two per cent. That is a slowest growth since February 2015.

As unemployment continues to drop, recruiters and hiring managers find themselves in an increasingly candidate-led market.  

John Salt is the Group Sales Director at totaljobs. He comments: “In totaljobs’ Employers Insight Report, published earlier this month, 68% of 100 businesses surveyed said they felt the job market is more candidate-led than in the last five years.  This is reflected in jobseekers being more selective about their next move.  Indeed, of the 4,000 jobseekers surveyed for the report, 65% said it has been more difficult to get a job compared to the last time they were looking for a new role.

“This isn’t to detract from the news coming out of the ONS findings, but to acknowledge that we should be utilising the wealth of talents available on the job market.”

Doug Monro is the Co-Founder of Adzuna. While he believes employer confidence is returning, Monro predicts that UK companies may face challenges ahead. He says: “The threat of a Brexit will be on employer’s minds in the coming months, and companies are already making their voices heard. The movement of jobs abroad, such as those within HSBC could undermine the current steady market, as well as meaning Britain loses vital skills and key workers.

“But it’s always a two-way jobs market between Europe and Britain. A recent commitment to provide more jobs by Aldi for instance, is a sure sign that confidence in the British market and British workers remains strong.

“And there’s also the important issue of a gender pay divide which is finally gaining the attention it deserves. It’s crucial that employers remain transparent and open to make sure all workers are getting a fair deal.”

Monro also points out that advertised salaries in the UK increased is another sign of the improved employer confidence in the UK. The average UK advertised salary rose to £39,576 in January.

Recently, totaljobs warned that recruiters may face tougher hiring times as 55% of businesses currently suffer from a skills shortage.

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