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Tightening labour market shows importance of skills and migration reform

21 Feb 2018

people on streetResponding to today’s official employment statistics, Seamus Nevin, Head of Policy Research at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Today’s ONS figures show that, for October to December 2017, the number of people in work increased slightly. Although the number of unemployed also saw its biggest increase since 2013 (and its first increase since the summer of 2016), it remains low by historic standards.

“The number of job vacancies has reached a record high, and there are now less than 2 unemployed people (1.8) per vacancy - the joint lowest since records began in 2001. This is making it more attractive for people looking for work. Nominal pay has been boosted by 2.5% and the number of economically inactive - those not seeking or available to work – shrank, as more people returned to searching for a job.

“All of this suggests that access to staff may be peaking as the labour market begins to tighten. Employers are now finding it increasingly difficult to recruit the workers they need. Given access to skills is currently one of the highest concerns for IoD members, today’s employment figures highlight the imperative for government to get our skills system right – to fix the failings of the Apprenticeship system and reform the Tier 2 visa cap to allow employers to recruit the workers they need now.”

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