With the latest Labour market data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealing there were an estimated 601,000 vacancies in the UK between December 2020 and February 2021; 220,000 fewer than a year ago, while underlying wage growth increased 2.5% for regular pay in the three months from November 2020, Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) comments:
“While the latest ONS figures show a drop in vacancies and employment numbers up to February 2021, the overall picture is largely more promising. We can’t overlook the fact that February was the last month that annual figures compared non-pandemic statistics with a Covid and lockdown hit economy. The number of job vacancies in December 2020 to February 2021 may be down 26.8% compared to the same time last year, but this is a notable improvement on the numbers from the summer of 2020, where a 60% decrease was reported at times.
“The increase in average total pay between November 2020 and January 2021 suggests that while vacancies are down as the furlough scheme remains in place, where employment and recruitment are stable, salary levels are being bolstered.
“Hiring is still being impacted, but trends do suggest that the disparity year-on-year is closing and it will be March’s data the shows the true extent of the UK’s economic recovery so far. This success will hinge on continued Government support as the slow easing of restrictions continues. For businesses, a carefully planned and phased re-opening that is balanced with the appropriate aid will be the critical success factor over the coming months.”
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