Responding to today’s ONS labour market figures, Jon Boys, Senior Labour Market Economist for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, comments:

“The labour market can be characterised as having too many jobs and not enough people to fill them. In recent data we can see the slow reversal of this trend, but the ship will take some time to turn. Flagging response rates to the labour force survey have left us with only an abridged clutch of statistics from which to garner insights. However, we can say with confidence that unemployment remains low, while vacancies and wage growth remain high, albeit lower than in recent periods.

“Looking ahead to 2024 there will be some respite to employers with hiring difficulties as the labour market cools. The Government has signalled intentions to lower immigration, and we have an ageing population, both of which will weigh on labour supply. However, 2024 is also likely to be the year that generative AI embeds itself into business processes boosting productivity which has been lacklustre since the financial crash.

“Though 2024 could bring respite to employers struggling to recruit, for now the labour market remains competitive. In such conditions people have options and employers and policymakers should reach for the carrot before the stick when seeking to get people into work. Creating quality jobs that enable people to balance competing priorities is key. This means more than just pay, but careful job design too. Flexibility and autonomy are highly valued and allow people to manage a work-life balance.”

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