The CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook is a forward-looking indicator of the UK labour market. It is a quarterly survey of 2,000+ employers, providing analysis on  recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions combined with unique insights on labour market topics.

The LMO is published every February, May, August and November. Its insights feed into our consultations and engagement with UK Government and policy-makers.

Labour Market Outlook report

Spring 2024 overview

In this quarter, the big picture shows that despite the labour market reverting to somewhat of a post-COVID normality, there continues to be a high level of vacancies by historic standards. Our data reveals a cross-sector fall in the net employment balance (our main barometer for employment intentions). The overall score remains well above zero but has continued on a downward trajectory. There could be further falls in both turnover and therefore vacancy levels in 2024 based on this trend.

Expected pay awards for the next 12 months remain unchanged on last quarter. The gap between public and private pay awards persists. Currently, the rate of inflation, which has fallen to a healthier 3.2%, sits between these two figures. This discrepancy means it may become more difficult to retain public sector staff in the coming months.

Read on for our latest labour market data and analysis on employers’ recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions this spring.

Labour Market Outlook - Spring 2024

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Net employment balance edges down to pre-pandemic levels

Net employment balance edges down to pre-pandemic levels

The net employment balance – which measures the difference between employers expecting to increase staff levels in the next three months and those expecting to decrease staff levels – remains positive but has continued its downward path from +22 last quarter to +19 this quarter.

More employers keeping staff level steady

Over half (55%) of employers are looking to maintain their current staff level. This is the highest proportion since winter 2016/17.

Public sector employers twice as likely to reduce staff levels

Public sector employers are twice as likely as their private sector counterparts to decrease their total staff level in the next three months (19% v 9%).

Hard-to-fill vacancies remain prevalent

Thirty-seven per cent of employers surveyed have hard-to-fill vacancies. Hard-to-fill vacancies are significantly higher in the public sector (52%) than the private sector (33%).

Expected pay awards higher in private sector

The median expected basic pay increase remains at 4% for the second consecutive quarter. Expected pay awards in the next 12 months are lower in the public sector (3%) compared with the private sector (4%).

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