Women drive rise in employment for the UK workforce, the ONS say

Employment in the UK has reached an all-time high of 32.81 million which has been attributed to women in employment being at a record-high.

Yesterday (13th August 2019), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that employment increased by 115,000 from April to June 2019, reaching a record high of 32.81 million.

The ONS has attributed these figures to the fact that the number of women in employment is also at a peak of 15.55 million, increasing by 127,000 from the previous quarter. The actual rate of employment for women has also increased between April to June 2019, reaching 72.1 per cent.

Matt Hughes, deputy head of labour market statistics for the ONS, said:

Employment continues to increase, with three quarters of this year’s growth being due to more women working.

The number of female employees increased by 74,000 during Q2 to 13.79 million whilst male employees only increased by 2000 at the same time.

The report also shows that women taking up part-time roles has more than doubled since 1992. The ONS state that part-time jobs allow women “the flexibility of arranging working hours around other responsibilities”. Additionally, they feel that the increase of women going into part-time work is due to better provisions such as “improvements in childcare services and the greater prevalence of flexible working arrangements”.

It was also found that the total average weekly pay, which includes bonuses, grew by 3.7 per cent in the year to June to reach £538 whilst, over the same period of time, the regular average weekly pay, which excludes bonuses, grew by 3.9 per cent to reach £505. Both of these were the highest growth rates since June 2008.

However, from April to June 2019, unemployment also increased by 31,000 to 1.33 million. The UK economy shrunk as well by 0.2 per cent during this quarter due to contractions in the production and construction sectors.

Amber Rudd, secretary of state for Work and Pensions and Minister for Women and Equalities, said:

Our workforce increasingly reflects our vibrant society, with a record number of women in employment while the number out of work falls to an all-time low.

Karen Thomson, diversity and inclusion lead at Fujitsu UK & Ireland said:

Today (13th August) is a milestone for women and shows the progress being made to ensure more women are entering into the workplace, especially as these record high rates are continuing to grow. Whilst great strides have been made in driving gender equality within organisations, there’s still an ocean of gender inequality left for us to conquer.

Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at the global job site Indeed, said:

This snapshot of the UK labour market is very much a tale of two halves. Unemployment has risen, but for those in work, paypackets are swelling nicely – average wages are rising at their fastest level for more than a decade as employers fight for recruits by offering ever more competitive salaries.

The increase in unemployment is a case of economic gravity finally reasserting itself as Britain’s job creation boom slows.

This is far from a perfect jobs report. Employer caution is limiting the supply of new vacancies, yet stiff competition for recruits is still driving up wages. Given the wider slowdown in the economy, the labour market is holding up surprisingly well. But continued falls in vacancies suggest employers are mindful of the broader economic and political risks on the horizon.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.