Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the number of vacancies at 845,000 for August to October 2018, the highest since comparable records began in 2001 – 44,000 more than for a year earlier and 14,000 more than for May to July 2018.

The unemployment rate was 4.1 per cent, slightly higher than for April to June 2018 but lower than for a year earlier (4.3 per cent). There were 1.38 million unemployed people, 21,000 more than for April to June 2018 but 43,000 fewer than for a year earlier. There were 32.41 million people in work, 23,000 more compared with April to June 2018 and 350,000 more than for a year earlier.

Comparing the estimates for employment by nationality (not seasonally adjusted) for July to September 2018 with those for a year earlier, EU nationals working in the UK fell by 132,000 to 2.25 million (the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997). Non-EU nationals working in the UK increased by 34,000 to 1.24 million.

Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy, Tom Hadley commenting on ONS figures:

“Although unemployment has slightly increased, employers across many sectors are continuing to experience fundamental challenges in finding the staff and skills that they need. We already have record numbers of vacancies, and the signs are that these skills shortages will further intensify over the next few months as EU workers no longer find the UK an attractive place to work.

“UK businesses will need to work with recruitment partners to innovate and review current hiring strategies – particularly, with regards to reaching out to under-represented groups.  At the same time, the case for a pragmatic, evidence-based immigration strategy that reflects staffing needs across all sectors has never been clearer. It is critical that there is a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU post-Brexit, so firms have the capacity to invest and grow here in the UK.”

Commenting in response to the latest labour market statistics from the ONS, Ian Brinkley, acting chief economist at the CIPD, said:

“The underlying state of the labour market remains strong despite unusually weak employment growth and the consequent small rise in unemployment.

“There was a significant increase in full time and permanent employment, largely offset by falling self-employment, temporary and part time work.  Regular pay strengthened slightly and, with inflation falling, real pay growth has strengthened significantly.

“The slight rise in unemployment is partly explained by more people of working age entering the labour market and actively looking for work than in the past. However, if future employment growth continues to fall short of the increase in job seekers, then further modest rises in unemployment can be expected.

“Much will depend on whether the current economic and business uncertainty over Brexit and the world economy can be reduced in the coming months.

“Employers can expect to face continued recruitment and retention pressures and need to prioritise workforce planning.”





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.