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UK labour market shows resilience despite challenges

25 October 2023

DWF's employment law expert, Joanne Frew, comments on the latest labour market data for the UK.

UK wide data

The latest figures from the ONS (described as experimental statistics based on alternative data rather than the Labour Force Survey estimates usually used) representing the period between June and August 2023 show continued strength despite economic challenges. The highlights for the period show a UK employment rate of 75.7%, a 0.3% decrease compared to the previous quarter. The UK unemployment rate for the same period was 4.2%, a 0.2% increase compared with the previous quarter.  

In the period July to September 2023, the estimated number of vacancies in the UK fell by 43,000, a fall on the quarter for the 15th consecutive period.  The statistics show that vacancies fell across the board in 14 of 18 industry sectors. The British Chamber of Commerce has recently reported that nearly three quarters of firms attempting to recruit are facing difficulties, the search for talent is very much ongoing.  

Annual growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) in Great Britain was 7.8% in the period June to August 2023, representing one of the highest regular annual growth rates since comparable records began over 20 years ago. With recent reports showing that average pay growth rose above inflation for the first time in almost two years, this is a positive sign that the cost of living crisis may be easing.  

With vacancies falling and pay rising, many employers which cannot afford the high salaries are having to think outside the box to ensure they are able to recruit and retain staff. Workplace culture has never been more important and can be a key differentiator when employees are looking at their next move. 

Further Reading