Job vacancies outweigh unemployment for the first time ever.
There are currently more job vacancies than unemployed people for the first time since records began. Between January and March of 2022, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest for almost 50 years, to 3.7%.
During this same period, the number of vacancies open within the UK rose to 1.3 million – a new high. This means the number of vacancies available outweighs the number of unemployed people for the first time ever.
Despite this, pay rates and minimum wage have failed to rise proportionately with inflation, creating an intense crisis for many. This has caused the cost-of-living crisis to deepen, with food and fuel costs growing at a rapid speed. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest the figures show a “mixed picture”.
The data also showed a rise in the number of people starting employment after being previously economically inactive. This means there are more people than ever, between the ages of 16 and 64, choosing to work, even if they have previously struggled to do so. They may have previously been unable to work due to disability, illness or caring responsibilities.
The number of people moving to new jobs and new types of employment has also reached a record high. The ONS suggests despite widespread redundancies and job-losses resulting from the pandemic and subsequent economic turmoil, these changes in jobs has stemmed from resignations more than dismissals.
A rise in the number of jobs available may come as good news to many – suggesting businesses can afford to take on new staff. However, for many, it has been a huge struggle to fill positions. Many small businesses must spend thousands of pounds to advertise new job roles, only for them to not be filled.
Despite wages not being able to keep up with the rate of inflation, the stats show they have risen slightly. Standard rates of pay, excluding bonuses, rose by 4.2% between January and March of this year. This is much less than the current inflation rate of 7%, however.
Although many businesses and employers tried to adjust rates of pay for their employees to soften the blow of inflated prices, the research shows overall disposable income fell by 1.2%. This is the biggest decrease to wages since 2013.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Certain industries actually saw their pay get a huge boost. Construction and financial services saw increased bonuses and increased salaries as a method of recruiting new employees and holding onto existing ones. Total pay rose by an average of 7% in these sectors.