The jobs market - your views wanted

ended 14. June 2021

On Tuesday 15th June at 07:00, the Office for National Statistics published the latest jobs data. Below are a selection of comments from HR experts and small business owners around the UK.

The data suggest that the jobs market is showing signs of recovery. Key points included:

  • The number of payrolled employees has increased for the sixth consecutive month, up by 197,000 in May 2021 to 28.5 million. It is however 553,000 below levels seen before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since February 2020, the largest falls in payrolled employment have been in the accommodation and food services sector, people aged under 25 years, and people living in London.
  • Between February and April 2021, there was a quarterly increase in the employment rate of 0.2 percentage points to 75.2% and a quarterly decrease in the unemployment rate of 0.3 percentage points to 4.7%. The economic inactivity rate was largely unchanged on the previous quarter at 21.0%.
  • The number of job vacancies in March to May 2021 was 758,000, only 27,000 below the level before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in January to March 2020; most industries have recovered to show vacancies above pre-pandemic levels.


18 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"A further fall in unemployment and more people on payrolls is clearly good news for the economy. But as furlough support starts to reduce, there could sadly be a bloodbath of redundancies. Employers and employees should engage with one another to get people back into the workplace."
Star Quote
"As a business that supports a number of companies with employees still on furlough, the end of the Government's support scheme is the elephant in the room that some businesses are not yet ready to face. "Faced with such uncertainty, the traditional permanent full-time contract will likely become a thing of the past for many businesses, instead being replaced with a much more flexible employment relationship."
Star Quote
"The end of furlough may actually be good for business as staff move from Zombie firms to those that have adapted to the brave new world and are ready to grow. The end of furlough will release people into a labour market crying out for new recruits. "For us, an independent mortgage broker, business is booming. We've grown from two staff to 15 since the start of COVID and plan on keeping that up. The challenge now is finding suitable staff as it's proving incredibly difficult.
"As a growing business we are desperate to employ more colleagues but the uncertainty of businesses going back to the office has a ripple effect on corporate gifting. We have backdated orders that are at risk of being pushed back so we have to pause our recruitment decisions. "While we support the Government using data to support decisions, we certainly feel this could be done far earlier to allow businesses time to adjust and plan accordingly."
"Once again we are faced with further uncertainty as to whether we will be on track for the next stage in unlocking Britain. "The big question is whether the furlough scheme is masking mass unemployment, but one thing we know for sure, it's causing a stagnant labour market. "Who'd risk moving from job to job at a time of such uncertainty, when the ability to be 're-furloughed' is gone."
"As a creative agency, we continue to increase our headcount to meet client demands, operating in a sector that has continued to see growth throughout the pandemic. "The biggest challenge in the jobs market right now, across multiple sectors, is finding technically skilled people that are willing to change roles in a pandemic. "People are very nervous about changing roles given the uncertainty of a new job and probation period and in the current climate. "Either way, if you are the right employer, new staff will come, but the package has to be right and the blend of working arrangements must suit a new style of long-term working. "Employers will need to take things into their own hands and adapt their own models to ensure that they are prepared for the future."
"Covid has created an extraordinary economic divide, between industries that have flourished and those that have suffered. "Fortunately for us, the property market has boomed and we are seeing the largest monthly activity statistics in decades. We have hired during this period but we must be conscious of whether this demand will continue. "Other industries are still licking their wounds and will be nervous to recruit but I think there will soon come a time where we are able to coexist with Covid and employers will rebuild their workforces. They will be able to choose from a large selection of talented candidates who will sadly be left unemployed when the furlough scheme ends."
Star Quote
"The jobs market is certainly picking back up but the quality of the roles and pay/benefits on offer are behind pre-COVID conditions so many people are reluctant to go back to work. Wellbeing must now be part of the employee value proposition and forefront in all business owners' minds."
Star Quote
"As live entertainment consultants and producers, we have put together plans to employ up to three people within the next 12 months. Because we can see no clear, credible or believable Government plan to support business right now we are holding off as long as possible."
Star Quote
"The whole economic climate has become so artificial because of the Government's furlough scheme. It's impossible to predict what the jobs market will look like when the scheme ends. My gut feeling says it will be sheer pandemonium."
"I’ve been trying to find full-time staff with hospitality experience for ages now, but with no response. They're as rare as hens' teeth. Plenty of marketing and engineering graduates applying, though, which is a sign of the times."
"The furlough scheme has been holding much of the working population’s heads above water and, though welcome, hides the true state of the economy. "There have been winners and losers during the past 15 months, with a company's fate often being decided by the industry it is in. We are seeing an enforced economic revolution, where businesses and industries that are no longer viable slowly disappear. "Businesses that have been unable to adapt their operations to the new post-Covid world will suddenly be forced to start letting people go and unemployment figures will rise. "Sadly, many people who are currently furloughed will soon join the unemployment figures and switch from a company-organised government subsidy to a straightforward government subsidy. "We are taking on new staff due to the fortune of our particular industry, but we aren’t complacent. These wider effects on the economy will be felt in all areas and so as a business owner I definitely have to keep a keen watching eye on developments to help judge our every move."
"I want to employ someone, but as yet I don't have the working capital to spend on recruitment and training, let alone paying their wages until they become productive enough to be covering their salary. "I have a position available for a Kickstarter employee. I've only had one application and that was from someone who wasn't suitable for the position. I'm not sure whether this is because people aren't looking properly until the restrictions are lifted, or if people don't want to come off furlough yet. Hopefully I can get someone over the summer."
"In the property industry at present, there is enough demand and an overwhelming workload that expanding our team has been a consideration for months. However, with uncertain reports across many industries we've explored other productivity options with manageable monthly payments and 'easy out' options."
"I'm planning to hire team members for the very first time. The recruitment industry is bouncing back, with many people returning from furlough and part-time roles to their full-time jobs. This will leave the candidate pool ripe with talent ready for a new role."
"The teacher in me is always looking for young people I can share my knowledge and experience with and give them a head-start. I am very ambitious about my business and have plans of rapid growth to take our award-winning educational resources to children far and wide. This also means that there's only so much I can do on my own and now ,being in year 2 of trading, I am very much looking forward to taking advantage of the Government's Kickstart Scheme. This gives 16-24 year olds great work experience and me some extra pairs of hands to help take my business forward."
At Domestic Angels, we have been working hard the past few weeks to attract new good quality candidates with several vacancies needing to be filled. We usually find and secure candidates much faster. There appears to be a combination of factors at play including reluctance to leave the home for work, continuing furlough across hospitality sectors and, of course, the idea of being in somebody else's home. In short, the work is available and will continue to be so."
"As a financial insurance adviser, fortunately business has been stable. I am currently recruiting and providing training for those who want a new career opportunity. "Unfortunately, lockdown has impacted many businesses and sadly some businesses may not have the financial ability to keep all their staff once the furlough scheme ends."