Posted by Robert Half on 17 June 2014
The recovery in the labour market is continuing apace, as organisations continue to hire new employees to prepare for growth. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed another fall in UK unemployment in the three months to April, continuing the recent positive trend. There were 30.54 million people in work in Britain during this period, up 780,000 on the previous year, as the jobless rate fell further to 6.6%. Some 2.16 million people were out of work between February and April, down by 161,000 on the previous quarter and by 347,000 compared to one year earlier. This in itself is positive news, but the fact that most new entrants to the workforce are on full-time hours is particularly welcome. Just a quarter took part-time roles, demonstrating that employers are eager to add capacity to boost output as the labour market continues to improve. With more people working in full-time roles, there should be greater levels of disposable income in the UK - increasing consumer purchasing power and further boosting the economy.
Labour market shows 'Strong positive growth'
David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the labour market is continuing to strengthen, with employment rising, unemployment declining and the number of inactive people also falling. "These figures demonstrate the resilience and flexibility of the UK jobs market," he claimed. "It points to continued strong positive growth in the second quarter of this year". Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills, echoed these comments, pointing to "an unprecedented rise" in the number of people in work in Britain. "That more than three times as many people found full-time, rather than part-time work, is another positive sign for the recovery," he stated. Mr Carberry noted that the private sector is driving new jobs, with new positions being created across a range of sectors. Many of these are skilled roles in areas of high demand, such as finance and IT.
Where is there demand for skills?
A study conducted by Robert Half found that 87% of chief financial officers are finding it difficult to attract skilled professionals for their departments - up from 79% 12 months ago. This is because employers are competing for a limited supply of talented professionals in various areas, such as management accountancy, compliance management and risk management. Competition for talent is helping to inflate finance and accountancy salaries, putting professionals in a strong bargaining position when looking for new jobs. The landscape is similar in IT, where a skills shortage is making it increasingly difficult for employers to recruit candidates with the required expertise. As businesses look to harness digital technologies and draw insights from increasing volumes of information, skilled technology professionals are very much in-demand. Individuals who specialise in areas such as big data, security and systems implementation are finding there are various employment opportunities. This is allowing them to be selective about where they work, encouraging some employers to pay a premium for hires.