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

“While there are fewer vacancies than last quarter, they still remain high by historical standards. Demand for staff is high, but there is a shortage of available people as unemployment remains low and the workforce is smaller than it was pre-pandemic. For those still in work however, their bargaining power may be increasing. 

“Annual pay growth of 6.4% would usually be reported as phenomenal but with prices rising by 10.7% this still represents a real-terms pay cut, plunging the cost-of-living crisis to new depths. A combination of worker power and falling real wages is driving the current spate of industrial action, as we saw 467,000 days lost to strikes in November.

“Labour supply shortages are worrying policymakers and businesses. Many people have dropped out of work entirely and employers need to do more to entice them back. This means creating jobs that work for people. A focus on job quality, including flexible work in all it’s guises, will facilitate the inclusion of people who may have left employment because they could not make it work for them.”

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