More than seventy per cent of the 457,000 net annual increase in the number of people in work over the past year has gone to people aged 50 and over according to the latest official labour market statistics. In addition, a relatively large proportion of women aged 25-34 account for the sharp increase in employment over the past year, which has been driven in part by a relatively steep decrease in the number of economically inactive women who have found employment.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market analyst for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said: 

“It’s not entirely clear why certain groups have benefitted from the extraordinary strong employment growth over the past year. Changing demographics is undoubtedly a factor, but another possibility is that employers are being forced to widen their recruitment channels and make work more accessible in response to the tightening labour market.   Some of these groups are also more likely to have received more help and support from policymakers, through interventions such as more generous childcare support, as well as National Living Wage increases. Either way, the recent extraordinary strong growth in well-paid, permanent, full-time jobs suggests that many employers are shrugging off any concerns about the availability of skilled staff and any Brexit-related uncertainty.”

Davies continues: “There is also evidence of labour shortages in sectors such as hospitality, which has more vacancies than other sectors, and construction which has seen higher wage growth than the economy as a whole. It’s no surprise therefore that earnings continue to outstrip inflation – which has dipped slightly to deliver more money into people’s pockets. However, disappointing productivity figures will hold back the economy’s ability to deliver sustained real earnings growth in the long-term.”


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