Responding to today’s official labour market statistics showing that there are 32.39 million people in work, 146,000 more than for November 2017 to January 2018, Tej Parikh, Senior Economist at the Institute of Directors, said:
“The labour market continues to be a bright spot for the UK economy. The employment numbers are still moving upward despite wider economic uncertainty, and it is particularly encouraging that many previously inactive individuals are entering the workforce as real wages become more attractive.
“But there remains little room for complacency, and government action is necessary if these positive trends are to continue in earnest. Indeed, workers with the right skill-sets are now increasingly at a premium. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that small businesses are toning down their hiring ambitions and are limited in their ability to raise salaries given their tight margins. That’s clearly a concern when SMEs account for the bulk of UK private sector employment.
“There is much to be done. The Apprenticeship Levy and immigration system must be reformed to give businesses flexible and immediate access to the skills and training they need, whilst small businesses need greater support to manage high costs and boost their productivity. Employment at record levels throws our other long-running challenges into starker relief, and should remind the Government they cannot take their eyes off domestic reforms.”