UK sees new high of employment due to women in jobs

The UK’s employment rate has reached a new all-time record of more than three-quarters, with over a quarter of this being attributed to women in full-time positions.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the employment rate of the UK in the three months to November was at 76.3 per cent. With women aged between 25-34 in employment rising by 85,000 over 2019.

This means 32.9 million people are now in employment in the UK, which equates to a rise of 0.5 per cent for the three months to November.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, said:

These latest figures could hardly be better in terms of the strength of employment growth and the quality of jobs, with permanent, full-time employment accounting for nearly all of the employment growth.

The big winners to emerge have been women aged between 25-34, whose numbers in the workforce have swelled by 85,000 over the past year, which represents around a quarter of the annual increase.  This suggests that the government’s enhanced childcare offering may be working in tandem with the tightening labour market, which is nudging more employers to offer flexible working arrangements.

And in contrast to much of the past decade, this good news is accompanied by relatively strong real earnings growth which will help offset the January blues for many workers.

Matt Weston, managing director, at Robert Half UK explains how 2020 has got off to a decent start with the hiring market remaining competitive.

Mr Weston said:

The latest labour market statistics show that record employment rates in 2019 have continued into the new year. At the start of 2020, the hiring market remains highly competitive and employers continue to operate in a ‘buyer’s market’ – where workers seeking a new role often have multiple offers to consider.

With January a key period for employees looking for new opportunities, pay and remuneration is an important consideration for businesses looking to successfully navigate the current ‘war for talent’. Recent research found that over half (55%) of employees started looking for a new job after being denied a pay rise, highlighting the value of a competitive base salary and performance-related bonus in attracting talented employees who are likely juggling multiple job offers.

However, Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed believes the UK’s job market is still running strong, although it maybe running out of road.

Mr Adrjan said:

Economic growth is currently as glacial as the winter weather, but the UK’s job creation engines are still running hot. 208,000 more people joined the workforce in the three months to November and the employment rate has risen again – to a new all-time record – while the unemployment rate continues to bump along at rock bottom levels.

But for all its resilience in the face of the economic slowdown, Britain’s jobs creation miracle is running out of road. While the total number of vacancies rebounded slightly in the final quarter of 2019, it’s down nearly 50,000 on the same time in 2018 as employer demand stays fragile.

There are still over 800,000 vacancies, which is good news for jobseekers. But as competition between employers for recruits softens, so too does the pressure on them to pay more to attract candidates.

As a result, average annual pay growth has slowed slightly to 3.4 per cent. It is comfortably outpacing the rate of inflation – boosting people’s spending power – but average pay in real terms is still £1 per week below the pre-crisis peak.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.