A closer look into the UK recruitment market
Fears of a UK economic slowdown in light of Brexit uncertainty may be hitting the headlines again, but one area of positivity is the UK job market.
For UK workers, average earnings are growing at their fastest rate since the financial crisis of 2008, UK employment is at record levels, and unemployment continues to fall. And though the business community has concerns about the availability of workers – particularly in the scenario of a ‘no deal’ Brexit – hiring confidence remains high.
Strong employment figures have, however, not resulted in increased productivity. Historically, productivity in the UK has averaged around 2%. In 2018, UK growth was just 1.4%, with that figure set to worsen by the end of the year. While much of this can be attributed to Brexit uncertainty, it is not the only cause. Reduced productivity also suggests a UK skills deficiency.
Smart businesses are, however. beginning to realise automation technologies requiring serious financial investments are not the only option when it comes to plugging skills gaps. Government schemes such as the Apprenticeship Levy can facilitate the upskilling of existing staff, while engaging older staff – who increasingly want to work longer, and more flexibly – can also dampen concerns.
2019 has, in many ways, been an unpredictable year for businesses. But while there’s little doubt a great deal of economic uncertainty remains, and skills gaps persist, at this halfway stage, the UK job market is one area of the economy which appears to be going from strength to strength.