The latest employment figures were published by ONS this morning.

According to the figures, the rate of unemployment stands at 3.7 percent.

The report states that the employment rate was estimated at 75.6 percent in October-December 2022. This was 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous three-month period.

It also states that the “unemployment rate for October to December 2022 increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter, to 3.7 percent. In the latest three-month period, the number of people unemployed for up to six months increased, driven by people aged 16 to 24 years.”

Growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 5.9 percent and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 6.7 percent among employees in October to December 2022.

However, it states that in real terms (adjusted for inflation), “growth in total and regular pay fell on the year in October to December 2022, by 3.1 percent for total pay and by 2.5 for regular pay. This is smaller than the record fall in real total pay we saw in February to April 2009 (4.5%), but remains among the largest falls in growth since comparable records began in 2001.”

HRreview has gathered expert insights on what employers need to know about the latest ONS employment statistics.

James Reed, Chairman,, comments:

“22 percent more people applied for a job via last month compared to January 2022. This is a trend that has continued in February – so far, we’ve seen a 19 percent year-on-year increase compared to the first two weeks of February 2022. And we are still seeing a good number of jobs being posted.

“The job market remains healthy despite talk of Britain only narrowly avoiding a recession. A key factor driving the boost in job applications that we are seeing is the cost-of-living crisis. People are recognising that one way in which they can secure a pay rise is to move jobs.

“Interestingly, while wage growth remains stable across the jobs market, it is blue-collar roles; jobs that cannot afford such flexibility with remote working, that are seeing the biggest growth in pay. This January, comparing year-on-year, it is customer service and engineering roles that have experienced the most significant pay hikes – up 9.8 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.

“This trend suggests an ‘in-person premium’ when it comes to pay – with organisations having to boost salaries to attract people to roles that cannot provide the flexibility now associated with the white-collar market.”

Tim Gilbert, managing director for Right Management, a leading UK provider of outplacement services, said:

“According to today’s ONS data, UK redundancy levels are continuing to edge slightly upwards to 3.5 per 1000. While this is not cause for concern in general, it does indicate a return to pre-pandemic levels and suggests that some organisations have resumed a process of selective restructuring, related in part to business and organisational transformation.

Sector-wise, we’re seeing increased levels of restructuring activity in manufacturing industries, where businesses are under pressure to address rising business costs. Team restructures in tech and finance, on the other hand, are capturing a lot of attention right now. This is due in part to the fact that many tech companies over-hired during the pandemic. But it only tells one side of the story. For all the tech firms that have announced they will be cutting staff, there are many others that have signalled strong hiring intentions for 2023.

“For those organisations that might be thinking of restructuring, it’s key that they treat people fairly and take steps to protect their employees as well as their employer brand. Workers’ morale will benefit both internally and externally if they see affected colleagues treated with dignity and respect, as well as receiving the necessary professional support.”

Ben Williams, Co-Founder of employee performance and retention platform, Loopin:

“The tough fact is that one in four people are planning to resign from their roles, citing burnout and team management. Employers should be looking seriously at how AI can help them keep their people better connected and engaged with their work.

Keeping hold of the best performing people has become a major challenge for employers, especially when replacing a team member costs over £30,600.”

“People are also worried about the impact of generative AI and Chat GTP on the future security of their jobs and their industries. The best-performing organisations should be looking at how AI can be used to help make working life better for their people and protect jobs rather than threaten them.”

ManpowerGroup UK Director, Chris Gray, said:

“The UK labour market continues to be very tight and also very resilient. Employers are for now shrugging off the concerns of an economic slowdown but for those looking to hire it remains very tough.

“The positive news is that unemployment is holding steady at 3.7% and the employment rate has increased slightly with a further 102,000 people in work in the last month taking the workforce to 30 million for the first time. Job vacancy levels remain high at around 1.1 million although having reduced a little over the month which points to a slight cooling in demand.

“Pressures on household spending show little sign of easing up – regular pay has fallen by 2.5 percent when taking inflation into account returning a wage growth average of 6.7 percent and will be front of mind for both employers and workers alike.

“Access to talent is a key issue and one that must be looked at further. Ensuring wider labour market participation is important and whilst inactivity has fallen by 113,000 in the last quarter it still remains stubbornly high.

“We’ve heard The Chancellor already outline plans to encourage more over 50s back into the workforce. Money and costs may be a motivator for some over 50s but social stigma also presents a challenge for many within this age group. We have to create the right working environment to overcome some of these issues with more flexibility offered and ensure that employers are listened to, and better accommodate, the needs of this demographic in the workplace. It’s a particularly complex area and there is no silver bullet, but employers and government must work closely together to find the best solutions.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.