With the release of the latest ONS Labour Market report, employment figures are looking stronger than they have ever been, with 73.5 percent rise in employment.
Unemployment levels have also dropped and Matt Singer, VP marketing, Jobvite, believes this shows a shift from a favourable employer market to an employee centric one. He says:
“Unemployment rates going down again is great news for both the employment market and the UK as a whole. In January to March 2015, joblessness has gone down to 5.5%. On top of this, the latest UK Labour statistics suggest that a thousand new jobs are being created everyday across the country on a daily basis. The news all points towards one thing: a shift from a job market favourable to employers, to an employee-centric one.
“With more jobs and opportunity, individuals are being freed to follow the employment path they desire. Keeping this in mind, it is vital recruitment and talent management professionals adapt their attraction and retention strategies. Most importantly, if companies are looking to stand out and attract the best and brightest candidates, then their hiring policies must become responsive, flexible and forward-looking.
“In the past decade we have seen a shift in how people interact online and this must be echoed by recruitment and talent management professionals. Through focusing on social and mobile campaigns, a huge range of potential candidates can be sourced and surveyed quickly and efficiently. This technique will ensure a business stays on the cutting edge by hiring and retaining the best the workforce has to offer. The job market has changed, just make sure your company keeps up or risk being left behind.”
Chris Jones, chief executive of City & Guilds, thinks that the emphasis now needs to shift towards training and that employers need to invest more in this to increase productivity. He says:
“It’s fantastic to see the continued rise in employment. There is no question that job creation has been one of the bright spots in the economic story over the last few years. The Government must now build on this over the coming months, to make sure that the same opportunities are created for the younger generation. Youth unemployment may have fallen but it is still stubbornly high, especially when you look at how overall unemployment has fallen. The new Government must make this a top priority.
“The real test is whether the rise in employment will be matched by an increase in productivity. The Prime Minister’s goal to achieve the highest employment rate of any major economy is admirable, but it can’t be at the expense of this. And one of the best ways to increase output per worker is by investing in training. That’s why the Government needs to encourage employers to invest in training their people.”
Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, thinks it is also important to invest in skilled workers in order to prevent a plateauing of performance in the future. He comments:
“As the economic recovery has kicked into gear, employment has reached its highest level on record, and real wages are growing. Strong current hiring points towards future falling unemployment, and our Unemployment Predictor forecasts that the unemployment rate will have slipped to 5.04% by July. We calculate that over 182,000 people will have been lifted out of unemployment across the first half of 2015, meaning substantial jobs market improvements are still to come.
“However, many industries are still crying out for skilled staff; workers we simply don’t have enough of. To avoid a plateauing of improvement, the government must focus on increasing flexible working, to encourage maximum employment in these areas. And upskilling the workforce will also be key in order to make sure we have the right staff for open vacancies. The EU referendum could pose a question mark over the number of European workers we have access to in the future, so it really is fundamental to grow our own talent as fast as we can.”
Neil Carberry, CBI director for Employment and Skills, also thinks a focus on developing skilled workers is the next step. He says:
“Employment continues to rise strongly thanks to the UK’s flexible labour market, with 202,000 more people in work and the majority finding full-time jobs.
“It’s good to see real wages rising, led by the private sector, but we need to see productivity improvements before they can accelerate to pre-recession levels.
“Overall long-term unemployment remains high and short-term unemployment has ticked up, so ensuring people have the skills businesses need will help to make further dents in the unemployment figures.”
“Today’s figures clearly paint a positive picture of the job market but with this boost comes a cautionary note to employers.“In a more buoyant job market, employees are more likely to feel the pull of greener pastures and may be tempted to move elsewhere by new opportunities and offers of higher remuneration. Companies need to ensure they double their efforts to retain their people by providing a visible career path and a thought through and authentic employee value proposition that appeals both to potential new employees and the critical existing employee base.”