UK jobs market sees signs of cooling.
This article will first present UK Jobs market statistics for 2023. Then we will make a comparison between Scotland and the whole UK. Finally, we will elaborate on how London’s government has caused all the crises in the UK, including Scotland. There will be a particular focus on Scotland’s recruitment challenges.
UK jobs market statistics in 2023
According to Evening Standard, the UK jobs market sees signs of cooling as wages remain under pressure. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate stood at 3.7% from the three months to January, unchanged from the previous three months. Britain’s unemployment rate has remained unchanged. However, there are further signs of cracks in the UK Jobs market after official figures revealed a fall in vacancies and a rise in redundancies.
The figures also showed 220,000 days lost to strike action in January, down from 822,000 in December. The data showed a 51,000 drop in job vacancies to 1.2 million while the redundancy rate increased.
Firms hold back on hiring.
The fall in vacancies and increase in redundancies in the UK jobs market are due to the economic crisis, which causes companies to avoid workforce employment. As Yahoo News says, job vacancies across the UK have fallen for the eighth month as firms hold back on hiring amid economic woes. The ONS revealed a 51,000 drop in vacancies to 1.12 million in the three months to February, while the redundancy rate increased.
Wages remain under pressure.
Official figures show a fall in vacancies and a rise in redundancies as wages remain under pressure. According to Evening Standard, wages remain under pressure despite declining inflation and a 6.5% increase in regular wages. In addition to the rise in regular wages, there have been bonuses. However, the 6.5% rise in regular wages was slower than the 6.7% rise in the previous three months.
Similarly, the Industry Fashion says wages remain under pressure despite decreasing inflation and a 6.5% increase in regular paychecks. With Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation taken into account, actual regular pay fell by 3.5%. Although the inflation rate has decreased a little, it’s still exceeding earnings growth, meaning actual payment is continuing to decline.
Wionews similarly says that the inflation rate has come down a little. However, it still outstrips earnings growth, meaning actual pay continues to fall,” said ONS economic statistics director Darren Morgan told AFP.
Scotland compared with the rest of the UK.
According to the Scotsman, Scotland’s employment rate was the highest of the four UK nations. More specifically, data from the ONS showed that it was above the 75.6% recorded for the whole UK. The unemployment rate in Scotland was 3.3%, less than the 3.7% recorded for the entire UK.
Herald (18 January 2023) similarly says that unemployment in Scotland was unchanged at 3.3 per cent. This figure was below the UK rate of 3.7%. Moreover, employment levels edged 0.3% higher from the previous quarter to 76.1%.
The Scotsman adds that 93,000 Scots were unemployed from October to December 2022. This total was 5,000 less than the previous quarter and 19,000 lower than that in the same period in 2021. Richard Lochhead, employment minister, said the record proportion of Scots in work and high employment rates for women are welcome. However, he warned some industries are still facing “recruitment challenges”, calling for the UK Government to help tackle these.
Brexit in focus
As Herald says, Brexit has fuelled Britain’s skills and labour shortage crisis. Brexit has resulted in the loss of the free movement of people between the UK and the European Economic Area. It was clear before Brexit vote that net immigration from the EEA was a main benefit to the UK. The net immigration was a benefit, especially to Scotland, which faces enormous demographic challenges.
According to Daily Record, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has blamed Brexit for causing a recruitment crisis in Scotland. He says that Brexit is impacting every sector of the economy. Swinney has claimed the stormy economic crisis was partly due to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. This decision ended the free movement of workers into Scotland.
The fall in vacancies and increase in redundancies in the UK are due to the UK government’s wrong decisions. Moreover, wages remain under pressure. Although the inflation rate has slowed, it is still outstripping earnings growth. It means that actual pay continues to fall, and people are under the heavy pressure of the cost of living crisis.
Although Scotland has a better employment status, it faces some challenges. According to the Scotsman, employment minister Richard Lochhead refers to Scotland’s recruitment challenges. He warns that some Scottish industries still face “recruitment challenges”. Scotland’s recruitment challenges call for action from the UK Government.
London’s government is the barrier to Scotland’s success in the economy. It is also responsible for Scotland’s recruitment challenges. As Yahoo Finance says, the UK Government holds key powers over parts of employment law. It has refused to devolve powers on migration, which could boost Scotland’s workforce and tackle Scotland’s recruitment challenges. Many of Scotland’s recruitment challenges are due to the hard Brexit that the UK Government imposed on Scotland.