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23 February 2024

Staff attraction and retention will continue to be sluggish for businesses without a robust recruitment plan

Staff attraction and retention will continue to be sluggish for businesses without a robust recruitment plan

Key trends in the employment market during winter 2023/24 show that despite the UK economy being officially in recession, recruitment remains a concern for many sectors.

Employers continue to experience difficulty with ‘hard to fill’ roles especially in Education, Public Sector, Construction, Logistics and Manufacturing, where over 45% of businesses have long-term unfilled vacancies.

Key statistics show that unemployment has fallen but remains high in the 16-24 age group, whilst vacancies are also falling but still remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.

  • UK unemployment rate decreased to 3.8%, with 1.32m people unemployed and 1.44m searching for work.
  • Youth unemployment remains high (aged 16-17 = 20.9% / aged 18-24 = 10.3%)
  • 28 million people are economically inactive, an increase of 120,000 on last year and 728,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Vacancies decreased for the 19th consecutive period to 932,000, (209,000 less than Jan 2023), but are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Payrolled employees increased to about 30.4m ( 48,000) for January 2024. This is 1.4m higher than pre-pandemic levels
  • Annual growth in pay increased by 6.2% (exc. Bonus) & 5.8% (inc. bonus). Inflation adjusted growth for regular pay was 1.8% and total pay was 1.4%.
  • 41 million people were claiming Universal Credit in January 2024. This has increased from 5.79 million in January 2023 and is more than twice as high as pre-pandemic levels.
  • Redundancies increased to 4 per thousand employees, up 0.6 since last year.
  • 108,000 working days lost due to labour disputes in December, mainly in health & social care.

Source: ONS

KPI’s Sales Director Joe Jardine said, “There are some contradictory trends at the moment, showing that the economy may be turning a corner, but given that recruitment has remained stubbornly difficult since the pandemic first hit, it’s clear that the battle to attract people is not going to get easier.”

Adding to the conflicting movements in the economy at present, despite the news that the UK has officially fallen into a recession, is that three in ten companies are planning to take on extra employees in 2024, with only one in ten expecting to reduce staff numbers.  The contradictions within in this trend continue, with net employment intentions still strong in the private sector ( 27%), but low in the public sector at just 6% (Source CIPD).

“One factor still remains though,” said Joe. “The businesses with a robust recruitment and retention strategy for both the short and the long term will be the winners over companies with no plan or those which react too late.”

If your business needs help with a recruitment and retention strategy, call Joe Jardine on 07874 867453, or email JoeJ@kpir.co.uk.

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