Unemployment Up, Wages Up But Vacancies Remain Unfilled

Posted on 3 Apr 2019
Unemployment Up, Wages Up But Vacancies Remain Unfilled

UK unemployment rose by 21,000 in the quarter to September hitting 1.38m, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics figures reveal the UK’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1% from 4%.

However, UK employment increased by 23,000 to a record high of 32.4m, while wages, excluding bonuses, rose 3.2% over the quarter.

But Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at global job site Indeed, warned in spite of the increase in the UK unemployment rate, thousands of jobs are going unfilled with the number of unemployed people per vacancy remains at a record low of 1.6.

“Britain’s labour market, which for years has relied on European workers to plug gaps, is coming under increasing strain as the number of EU workers leaving the country over the past year shot up to its highest level in more than two decades.

“Though the exodus remains steady rather than a stampede, many of the Polish workers who came to the UK in search of a better job are being tempted home. At 6.7% a year, average salaries in Poland are rising more than twice as fast as British pay packets.

“While UK wage growth is finally picking up and this will be a welcome windfall for workers, the increasing number of Europeans heading for the exit will ring alarm bells for many of their bosses.”

Meanwhile, Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy Tom Hadley says employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need.

“We already have record numbers of vacancies, and the signs are that these skills shortages will further intensify over the next few months as EU workers no longer find the UK an attractive place to work.

“UK businesses will need to work with recruitment partners to innovate and review current hiring strategies – particularly, with regards to reaching out to under-represented groups.”

And as the PM reportedly nears the “end game” with regard to Brexit negotiations with European Union leaders, Hadley added the case for a “pragmatic, evidence-based immigration strategy that reflects staffing needs across all sectors has never been clearer”.

“It is critical that there is a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU post-Brexit, so firms have the capacity to invest and grow here in the UK,” he added.