There has been some reaction to today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from the recruitment industry. The data showed that from July-September 2017 unemployment fell by 59,000 while vacancies increased slightly. Employment fell slightly by 14,000.
“Employers who are already struggling to fill roles will be concerned to see that the number of people out of work has fallen yet again, reducing the talent pool even further,” said Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive Kevin Green. “We have heard again and again from recruiters that they don’t have enough candidates to cope with the increasing number of vacancies.
“The number of people in employment is falling for the first time in two years,” he continued. “EU nationals are returning home and less are arriving as they feel increasingly unwelcome here. We cannot afford to lose their skills and their contribution to the UK labour market. The government needs to make this country attractive to EU workers by ensuring their right to work here.”
Meanwhile IPSE responded to the figures highlighting the continuing strength of the UK labour market. They noted that self-employment is still rising across the country, demonstrating the desire for a flexible labour market.
The figures show that 31.8 million people are now in work, which amounts to an increase of 297,000 compared to the same period last year. The self-employed accounted for 25,000 of this increase – a continuation of the sector’s uninterrupted seven-year growth.
“The labour market continues to show resilience, despite unstable economic conditions. In the three months from July to September, employment rose compared to the same period last year,” said Tom Purvis, IPSE economic policy advisor. “In a time when we face challenges both with productivity and rising inflation, it's fantastic to see the labour market staying strong, held up by the burgeoning self-employed sector.
“It’s not all good news, however, because there are still concerns about wages in the UK labour market,” he added. “Figures released yesterday show that inflation remains at three per cent, while wage growth is still well below that. That means that in real terms, workers are still seeing wage cuts.”
IPSE's Freelance Confidence Index shows self-employed average freelancer day rates have now fallen from £525 to £489. On top of this, 82 per cent of freelancers believe their costs will increase over the next 12 months. “In this time of instability, it is vital that the Chancellor uses the Autumn Budget to support the self-employed and ensure their resilience is rewarded,” said Purvis.