Responding to today’s ONS figures, Jonathan Boys, labour market economist for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development comments:   

“Today’s figures are generally strong. Unemployment continues to fall while employment rises. The number of vacancies has reached a new record high, demonstrating continued high demand for candidates. The low unemployment/ high vacancy environment has created a dynamic in which competition for staff is fierce. This will have some impact on wages. However, regular pay is already struggling to keep up with inflation, and we expect this trend to continue.

“We are at the foothills of the 2022 living standards squeeze. Next week the OBR will publish updated economic forecasts to accompany the Chancellor’s spring statement. These will likely show that the war in Ukraine will push inflation higher and make it last longer. Government policy will no doubt respond with policies to cushion the blow to household finances but there is a role for employers too.

“Employers aren’t immune from price rises but supporting people to achieve a decent standard of living is an essential part of good work and responsible business. Money worries can also affect job performance, so there are implications for the bottom line too. Employers can improve the financial security of their workers by paying a fair and living wage, but it’s just as important that they provide financial wellbeing support. This means offering and signposting benefits and encouraging people to be open about any concerns they might have, as well as providing opportunities for career progression.”

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