Official figures released in February show that the unemployment rate has remained at a near record low of 4.4%, with the employment rate at a near-record high of 75.2%. The figures also show that groups across society are accessing new job opportunities:
• Every region across the UK has seen employment increase since 2010
• Youth unemployment has fallen by over 40% since 2010
• There are a record-breaking number of workers aged 50 plus in work, reaching 10 million. The latest Labour Market Outlook report from the CIPD gives an overview of the current situation and predictions for how the market is likely to move forward. The data indicates:
• The number of vacancies remains well about historical average levels at 823,000
• Wage growth is projected to remain subdued in the year ahead at around the 2% level – despite signs that two thirds of employers have vacancies they are struggling to fill
• The rate of growth in the number of EU nationals continues to slow (although the net migration figure is still rising)
• Further labour market expansion is being constrained by a lack of supply. Those who employ EU nationals are more likely to invest in training and recruitment from a wider range of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups than those that don’t.
This appears to dispel the assumption that companies with high proportions of EU nationals are choosing not to recruit locally; the recruitment of EU nationals in many cases would appear to be a necessary strategy, rather than a choice.