As the UK Labour Market undergoes nuanced changes, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides a comprehensive overview, offering valuable insights into key trends and shifts. Here are the key takeaways from the October to December 2023 period, shedding light on the state of the labour market, according to TALiNT Partners.
Vacancies fall, yet remain above pre-COVID levels
In a historic development, the number of vacancies in the UK fell by 49,000 in the October to December 2023 period, marking the 18th consecutive quarterly decline – the longest recorded. However, with 934,000 vacancies, the market remains above pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, reflecting a dynamic landscape in need of strategic talent management.
Earnings growth and real terms increase
Amidst the evolving job market, annual growth in regular earnings (excluding bonuses) and employees’ average total earnings (including bonuses) stood at 6.6% and 6.5%, respectively, in September to November 2023. In real terms, adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Prices Index, total pay rose by 1.3%, and regular pay increased by 1.4%, showcasing a positive trajectory in earnings despite market challenges.
Decline in working days lost due to labour disputes
November 2023 saw the lowest number of working days lost due to labour disputes since May 2022, totalling 69,000 across the UK. Notably, over half of the disputes occurred in the transport, storage, information, and communication industries, emphasizing the need for industry-specific talent solutions.
Amidst the evolving job market, annual growth in regular earnings (excluding bonuses) and employees’ average total earnings (including bonuses) stood at 6.6% and 6.5%, respectively
Payrolled employees decrease, alternative estimates introduced
The estimate of payrolled employees in the UK for December 2023 decreased by 24,000 from the revised November figure, standing at 30.2 million. Given increased uncertainty, ONS introduced alternative estimates for September to November 2023, revealing a slight increase in the employment rate, an unchanged unemployment rate, and a decrease in the economic inactivity rate.
Ongoing improvements to Labour Force Survey (LFS)
In response to uncertainties, the ONS is actively working on improvements to the LFS, with a commitment to reintroduce a fuller LFS-based dataset in the February 2024 publication. These improvements aim to enhance the accuracy and reliability of headline estimates.
Ken Brotherson, CEO at TALiNT Partners commented:
“The ONS’s latest Labour Market report is always a treasure trove of insights, but one of the standout points is the resilience of consumer spending, especially as it pivots toward services. This is a clear signal for talent professionals to keep an eye on the rise of in-person sales and interactive roles. It’s impossible to ignore the sustained demand for nursing talent, which has been a consistent trend over the past several quarters.”
It’s fascinating to see how these trends align with the broader shifts in the labour market, where agility and adaptability are becoming increasingly valued commodities. The report likely echoes the findings from LinkedIn and the World Economic Forum, highlighting the rapid change in skill sets required in today’s workforce.”