Reviewing the ups and downs of the labour market over the past year

Employer advice

As an employer, it's important to know the context in which you are recruiting. This blogexamines a few of the trends we've noticed recently that it would be useful for you to be aware of. Overall, there are lots of jobs available, but fewer people to fill them. Some industries are finding it harder to recruit, due to this year's increase in vacancies and reduction in unemployment.

It's not due to the number of EU nationals who are leaving the UK. According to Andy Verity, economics correspondent for the BBC, the number of EU nationals dropped by 86,000 in the second quarter of the year – that's the biggest fall since records began in 1997. By contrast, non-EU nationals working in the UK rose to 1.27 million - 74,000 more than a year earlier, according to the ONS.

As with anything as complex as the labour market, it's a mixed picture. On the other hand, interest rates have recently started to sneak up after ten years at an all-time low, which means that more employees may be looking to change jobs.

Vacancies increasing

First, let's look at the growth in vacancies. Led by the private sector, demand for staff strengthened in July, with overall job vacancies expanding at the quickest rate for eight months. In May to July 2018, employers were actively recruiting for 829,000 job vacancies – that's the highest since comparable records began in 2001. You can see the growth in vacancies over time on the graph below.

It adds up to being good news for job-hunters! And it means there is all the more reason to ensure that your organisation is the employer of choice.

Industries experiencing the greatest shortfall in talent

If you're wondering which industries were most affected over the past year, the largest increases in vacancies were seen in human health and social work (up 15,000), and transport and storage (up 11,000). The sector with the largest vacancy rate was accommodation and food service (4.1 vacancies per 100 filled employee jobs). The sectors with the smallest vacancy rate were public administration and defence (1.6 vacancies per 100 filled employee jobs).

Unemployment reducing

One of the reasons could be the plummeting rate of unemployment. ONS figures show that the unemployment rate from April to June 2018 was 4.0%; the lowest since the mid-1970s. That equates to an estimated 1,360,000 people who are actively seeking work, and who could be available to work at short notice.