Human Resource Management

HRM Guide Updates

UK Unemployment

Labour Market Statistics

May 13 2015 - The unemployment rate stands at 5.5% - down 0.2% on the quarter and 1.3% down over the year. 31.10 million people were in work in January 2015 to March 2015 according to the labour force survey (LFS). The number of people employed was 202,000 higher this quarter and 564,000 higher than last year.

The working age employment rate is 73.5% - 0.3% up on the last quarter and up 1.0% over the year.

ILO-defined unemployment in January 2015 to March 2015 was 1.83 million (5.5%) - down by 35,000 on the previous quarter and down 386,000 on the same quarter last year.

The claimant count for key out-of-work benefits was 763,800 in April 2015 - down by 12,600 on the previous month and down 349,600 on the year.


Average wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.9% over the year.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"Behind the headline figures, we still don't have enough of the well-paid secure jobs that people want for themselves and their children. Underemployment has barely recovered, leaving many families with fewer hours of work than they need. And young people are hardly sharing in the recovery, with youth unemployment still far higher than before the crisis.

"Pay packets are a bit bigger, but real pay rises remain dependent on unusually low inflation. Without a stronger foundation for sustainable pay growth, the living standards of families will remain at risk.

"We need to invest in a high-value economy with more of the well-paid, secure jobs that working families need. But the extreme cuts the new government is planning will put recent improvements at risk. With construction already in decline and manufacturing flat, the last thing working people need is dramatic spending cuts that send our recovery off the rails."

Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser, CIPD commented:

"This first set of figures for the new government will put an additional spring in its step. Employment growth continues to grow sharply, but what is most impressive is the proportion of people in full-time work.

"However, while this high water mark should be celebrated, it reinforces the need for government policy to raise the ambitions of employers, especially in relation to productivity which continues to drag its feet. It's curious that while business investment remains strong, training spend is falling and too many workers are not being given the opportunity to use or gain the skills that are essential to progression. The UK may be enjoying an upward trajectory of employment but this can't last forever. While there is plentiful supply in the market now, we expect the labour market to tighten by the end of this year and skills shortages to emerge more strongly. Now is the time for businesses to allocate more spending towards workforce development and they need to do this before the labour shortages begin to bite and pay inflation accelerates. The new Government should also review its skills policy to reflect this bump in the road ahead and plan ahead for where demand will land.

"Pay growth continues to pick up modestly but the average earnings figures tell a mixed picture between those sectors such as finance, retail and hospitality that are performing well, and others, such as manufacturing, that are continuing to struggle. It's no surprise to see pay growth remain modest given our productivity performance. Equally the increased supply of workers, especially older workers and EU migrants, means that employers are under little or no recruitment pressure to boost pay growth. As the ONS figures show, the number of EU migrants in employment has increased by seventeen per cent during the past year alongside an increase of nine per cent of people aged 65 and over. Until this supply begins to diminish, employers will be under little pressure to increase starting salaries and even then, we still have some way to go to see wages significantly exceed living costs."

Matt Singer, VP Marketing, Jobvite, said:

"Unemployment rates going down again is great news for both the employment market and the UK as a whole. In January to March 2015, joblessness has gone down to 5.5%. On top of this, the latest UK Labour statistics suggest that a thousand new jobs are being created everyday across the country on a daily basis. The news all points towards one thing: a shift from a job market favourable to employers, to an employee-centric one.

"With more jobs and opportunity, individuals are being freed to follow the employment path they desire. Keeping this in mind, it is vital recruitment and talent management professionals adapt their attraction and retention strategies. Most importantly, if companies are looking to stand out and attract the best and brightest candidates, then their hiring policies must become responsive, flexible and forward-looking.

"In the past decade we have seen a shift in how people interact online and this must be echoed by recruitment and talent management professionals. Through focusing on social and mobile campaigns, a huge range of potential candidates can be sourced and surveyed quickly and efficiently. This technique will ensure a business stays on the cutting edge by hiring and retaining the best the workforce has to offer. The job market has changed, just make sure your company keeps up or risk being left behind."

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