UK labour market continues its recovery


Image by Tobias Herrmann from Pixabay

Despite the threat posed by the Omicron coronavirus variant, the UK labour market has continued its great recovery, official figures show.

According to the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) latest Labour market overview, in October to December 2021, the labour market witnessed a quarterly employment rate increase and an unemployment rate decrease.

The number of job vacancies in November 2021 to January 2022 rose to a new record of 1.29m an increase of 513,700 on the pre-coronavirus January to March 2020 levels.

There are now just 1.1 unemployed individuals per job vacancy – the lowest ratio in the last fifty years! For comparison, in mid-2020, there were more than four unemployed people per vacancy.

One of the main reasons for this trend is the large number of older workers who are leaving the workforce. The ONS figures reveal that economic inactivity among people aged 50 and over has grown by 560,000 since the COVID-19 crisis started and now accounts for 80% of the total growth in inactivity.

Economic inactivity is the section of the working age population that is neither in employment nor actively seeking employment.

The number of job vacancies in November 2021 to January 2022 rose to a new record of 1,298,400, an increase of 513,700 from its pre-coronavirus January to March 2020 level.

All of this bodes well for job seekers. With a shortage of talent in the labour market, those seeking employment can afford to be more choosy than they might be. Having worked remotely for a significant length of time, many job seekers will be attracted to firms that allow hybrid working. Higher salaries can also be negotiated as organisations struggle to fill positions.

Commenting on the latest data, Cathy Ward, Director and Recruitment Consultant at Polytec Personnel Ltd, said: "As always, the demand for skilled engineers and scientists remains high in the Cambridge area and we’re always interested in hearing from candidates who are looking for a new role. It’s a candidate led market at present with good candidates often having a selection of vacancies to choose from."

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