ONS: Brexit uncertainty affecting candidate wages

Unemployment figures in the UK remain at their lowest rate recorded since 1971, however, wages aren’t mirroring this buoyant growth in employment.

According to estimates from the Office for National Statistics latest Labour Force Survey, average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain fell by 0.5% during April to June 2017.

Total earnings are only 1.8% higher than this time last year – the slowest rate of increase witnessed since 2014.

Doug Munro, Co-Founder of Adzuna, believes that Brexit uncertainty is to blame. “Despite seeing some momentum building in certain regions according to Adzuna’s data, wage growth is likely to be stunted further than previously anticipated,” he warns. “Adding insult to injury, rail fares are set to rise by up to 3.6% for commuters, which will most likely hit workers in the capital hardest.”

However, he is optimistic in the strength of the UK’s employment market, which is supported by Adzuna data showing that UK vacancies are at a 19-month high. Encouraging as this is, the quality of new roles is as important as the quantity. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has mentioned a small number of firms are less willing to give bigger pay rises given that the outcome of the market is not clear. For jobseekers and employees, this means remaining cautious of weak wage growth combined with rising inflation, which will have a hold on their spending power.”

Totaljobs’ HR Director, David Clift, is encouraged by market growth one year on from the referendum. “As a nod to just how well the job market is currently performing, and to put the figures in context, the last time the UK’s unemployment rate was this low, Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ was debuting in cinemas. Since then, ‘Jaws 2’, ‘Jaws 3-D’ and ‘Jaws: The Revenge’ have all been released, to mixed acclaim,” he says.

Despite the ONS’ figures indicating a buoyancy in the job market, Morgan McKinley’s latest employment monitor found an 11% decrease in jobs available and a 33% decrease in job seekers. “The City is still haemorrhaging talent because of Brexit, and we risk losing jobs, too,” said Hakan Enver, Operations Director at Morgan McKinley Financial Services.

This has also been experienced by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), who have witnessed employers pumping in cash to lure talent due to the skills shortage, and yep, you guessed it, Brexit is to blame. REC Chief Executive and Member of Recruitment Grapevine’s Advisory Board, Kevin Green, comments: “It’s clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks. The parts of the economy most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home. Employers are not just struggling to hire the brightest and the best but also people to fill roles such as chefs, drivers and warehouse workers.”

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