During the height of the recession, you could scarcely go a day without hearing how cluttered the job market was. Scores of applicants were going for each vacancy and redundancies were high enough that it seemed fair to assume that it was a state of affairs destined to continue for some time. Whilst our general perception here at Elite Business was that this situation had improved, without hard data it was rather somewhat hard to quantify. Fortunately, with fresh research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) hitting our doormat this morning we finally have the evidence we’ve craved.
The Labour Market Outlook Spring 2013 has some rather positive news regarding UK enterprise’s employment intentions. In Q1 2013, the private sector saw an additional 2% of organisations intending to hire over Q4 2012, meaning 76% of businesses intended to recruit new staff last quarter and representing a significant 25% increase from the recruitment lows of Q3 2010. The public sector hasn’t faired quite so well, seeing a 5% drop to 69% in Q1 this year, but this in part seems down to a significant leap in Q4 2012, which saw a leap of 8% up to 74%. Also taking into account the voluntary sector, this shows a stable recruitment picture with no overall change from the previous quarter.
So far, so neutral. But fortunately, slightly easing the pressure on jobseekers, the proportion of businesses – across all three sectors – intending to make redundancies in Q1 have fallen 2% to 29%. This means in two years, the number of planned redundancies have dropped by a tenth. And overall this means the employment balance has increased to +9, a significant improvement from the -8 lows during Q4 2011 and only two points lower than the record high of +11 in Q3 2010 that resulted from increased private sector recruitment and reduced public sector redundancies.
Despite this, it’s still far from plain-sailing for jobseekers. Whilst the floodwaters aren’t as high as they once were, it appears the job market is still rather saturated and demand for candidates simply isn’t high enough to sop up the overspill. For low-skilled vacancies, the research found the number of individuals applying for each position averaged 45. Medium- and high-skilled vacancies each attracted an average of 29 and 10 respectively. This demonstrates the job market is still dangerously out of balance.
However, we really shouldn’t be disheartened that there is still such a high demand for jobs. The picture is firmly improving and in three years we’ve seen the net employment balance increase from -19 up to the aforementioned +9 figure. This is a significant improvement in the health of our economy and, we hope, a real sign of things to come.