Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC response to ONS labour market figures, October 2023

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

“Throughout 2023, the jobs market has been normalising after the post-pandemic boom. While vacancies are dropping, they remain above their levels of 2019. But sector demand is varying widely, and workers are facing having to make more transitions to new areas to find new roles. This transition is a primary driver of rising unemployment – though it is still low by historic standards.

“With pay growth at levels not seen for many years, firms will be concerned at the prospect of having to find resources for a second year of significant wage settlements, given low economic growth this year. Businesses can ensure they get the best outcome by ensuring they use their whole benefits package and workplace culture to attract and retain staff, taking advice from their professional recruiters.”  

On data issues, Neil Carberry said:

We should be careful about drawing conclusions from this experimental data set, which may be prone to fluctuations as it develops. The Labour Force Survey remains the best official monthly guide to the performance of the jobs market, and it is essential that ONS resolves concerns about it as quickly as possible.”

Neil Carberry added:

“We know from recent ONS data that economic inactivity is an issue for 16 to 24 years old, who can fall out of education and not find work quickly. We need better and more fixed pipelines into work for young people to land them in what remains a welcoming jobs market. Reforming the flawed Apprenticeship Levy, to reverse the trend away from young apprenticeships and improving accessibility for those who do not have the same employer for a year and thereby lose access, like the 960,000 temporary workers currently ineligible, would be a big step forward.”