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Continued growth for UK jobs market

15 February 2022
Our employment experts in England and Scotland comment on the latest labour market figures.

Continued growth for UK jobs market

Joanne Frew, Head of Employment at DWF, comments on the ONS labour market figure published today. She said:

"The latest ONS labour market figures show a steady continued recovery.  The headlines for the period between October and December 2021 show an estimated UK employment rate of 75.5%, 0.1% higher than the previous quarter.  The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 4.1%, 0.2% lower than the previous quarter.  All three months reported on represent a period when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was closed, demonstrating a robust jobs market despite the withdrawn support.  
 
"The ONS figures report another record high of 1,298,400 vacancies in the period between November 2021 and January 2022, with the largest increase seen in accommodation and food service activities.  Against a backdrop of a war for talent, employers are facing significant retention and recruitment challenges.  According to the CIPD's recent research the "Labour Market Outlook" employers anticipate pay increases of 3% in 2022, the highest figure recorded in the last decade by CIPD.  In response to such a competitive market, employers are prioritising their efforts on attracting the best talent.  Together with increased pay employers are also offering more flexibility, training and enhanced career opportunities.  
 
"Although we have not yet seen the full impact of the Omicron variant and the tighter restrictions over the Christmas and New Year period on the labour market figures; the decline in Covid-19 cases, the seemingly reduced severity of the new variant and the continued booster drive gives cause for optimism that the labour market can remain stable in the short to medium term."     

Scotland labour market figures show resilience in challenging times

Ann Frances Cooney, employment law partner at DWF leading the Scottish employment law practice, comments on today's Labour Market Trends. She said: 

"The latest labour market figures for Scotland demonstrate a resilient labour market in challenging times. The headline figures for the period between October and December 2021 show an estimated employment rate of 74.1%, 0.6% lower over the quarter.  By way of comparison Scotland's employment rate was below the UK rate of 75.5%.  Scotland's estimated unemployment rate was estimated at 4.1%, remaining the same over the quarter.  The rate was also the same as the UK's unemployment rate over the same period.  All three months reported on represent a period when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was closed, demonstrating a resilient jobs market despite the withdrawn support.  

"The ONS figures for the UK report another record high of 1,298,400 vacancies in the period between November 2021 and January 2022, with the largest increase seen in accommodation and food service activities.  Against a backdrop of a war for talent, employers are facing significant retention and recruitment challenges.  According to the CIPD's recent research the "Labour Market Outlook" employers anticipate pay increases of 3% in 2022, the highest figure recorded in the last decade by CIPD.  In response to such a competitive market, employers are prioritising their efforts on attracting the best talent.  Together with increased pay employers are also offering more flexibility, training and enhanced career opportunities.  

"Although we have not yet seen the full impact of the Omicron variant and the tighter restrictions over the Christmas and New Year period on the labour market figures; the decline in Covid-19 cases, the seemingly reduced severity of the new variant and the continued booster drive gives cause for optimism that the labour market can remain stable in the short to medium term. In addition the relaxation of the working from home guidance in Scotland should provide an opportunity for further economic growth."

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