The Institute of Directors has said today’s jobs and wages figures which show the employment rate at an all-time high, the unemployment rate falling to 5.4%, wages rising at 3% year-on-year and youth unemployment also continuing to decline are testament to the way British businesses and employees dealt with the downturn and recovery.
James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said:
“Another month of impressive jobs figures and strong wage growth show that the business-led recovery is well on track. Despite uncertainties at home and abroad, employers have continued to create jobs, raise productivity and boost pay in a vote of confidence in the British economy. Employment is up in most sectors and across the country, pay is growing and long-term, short-term, and youth unemployment are all falling. This is a welcome sign of a healthy economy, a strong private sector, and a tightening labour market.
“In the downturn, commentators were quick to point the finger at the rise in self-employment as a symptom of an ‘insecure’ or ‘fragile’ recovery. But as the economy has recovered, the number of people working on their own has remained stable. It is fundamental that politicians maintain the balance which Britain has struck between flexible employment laws and protections for employees which support our agile and entrepreneurial economy.
“IoD members have told us for more than a year that they will be raising pay in line with corporate performance. Today’s statistics prove that is the case, as businesses act maturely to make sure pay rises are sustainable and will not cause headaches down the road. The biggest challenge now is skills. As the number of vacancies remains high, more and more businesses will find they have trouble finding suitable candidates. It is important that the UK maintains an open economy so that we can attract the best and brightest from around the world to fill skills gaps, while at the same time, ensuring businesses and government focus on training and education at home.”