Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC response to ONS labour market figures, May 2023

The ONS has published its latest labour market update this morning. Commenting on the statistics, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of REC, said:

“These figures show some gentle progress on bringing people back to the labour market, and overall employment remains high. But we should be concerned by the high number of people who are economically inactive because they are sick, and progress on tackling inactivity overall is too slow. It is a year since the ONS reported on high worklessness, labour shortages and high inflation and too little has changed. This is holding the economy back by constraining companies’ ability to grow.

“There is work for both business and governments to do to address this. Firms can help themselves by taking innovative approaches to how they hire, working with recruitment professionals. They should also be considering their offer on both flexible work and employee engagement as part of a wider recruitment and retention strategy. For governments, tackling the NHS backlog, skills reform, and a sensible approach to immigration for work all matter and should form part of a wider industrial and workforce strategy.

“Other headline data in this release supports the trends identified in our own REC surveys. Vacancies are falling back from post-pandemic highs but remain elevated – while firms are raising pay faster than they have for decades, Even so, high inflation is reducing the impact of these rises for workers.”