Women and older workers drive record employment

ONS says women and older workers helped drive record employment ratesThe number of people in employment in the UK increased by 32,000 to a record high of 32.75 million in the three months to April 2019, according to the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). This was driven by women whose numbers increased by 60,000 on the quarter to a record high of 15.46 million.

In addition, the number of people in the age group 65 years and older in employment has more than doubled in size to 1.3 million since 2006 and the three months to April 2019; while the age group 50 to 64 years increased from 6.96 million to 9.2 million over the same period. The 25 to 34 years age group increased from 6.38 million to 7.56 million, but the 16 to 17 years age group reduced from 545,000 to 339,000.

Jon Boys, Labour Market Economist for the CIPD, commented: “Encouragingly all the employment growth has come from full-time jobs suggesting that employers are shrugging off Brexit-related uncertainty, at least in relation to their hiring decisions. In tight labour market conditions workers are in a stronger position to demand the terms of their contracts with many pushing for full-time, permanent roles.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”There is evidence the labour market is becoming more inclusive with an increase in the number of women and older workers finding work.”[/perfectpullquote]

“There was also strong jobs growth in some of the highest and most skilled sectors including professional and scientific occupations, as well as IT. In further positive news, there is evidence the labour market is becoming more inclusive with an increase in the number of women and older workers finding work.”

Figures also show that the number of employed men fell by 27,000 on the quarter to 17.29 million. The employment rate for men fell 0.2 percentage points to 80.3 percent. There has been another increase in the number of self-employed workers – as this has risen to 74,000 on the quarter to 4.91 million. The number of self-employed men increased by 47,000 to 3.29 million and that of women increased by 28,000 to 1.62 million.

Added Boys: “Wage growth continues to outstrip inflation delivering more money to workers pockets. However, real pay – excluding bonuses – is still £5.70 a week lower than the pre-recession high. Some have benefitted more than others.

“The data covers bonus season and construction bonuses increased by 17.1 percent delivering above average total pay at 4.4 percent, whilst those workers in retail and hospitality experienced total pay growth of just 1 percent. Interestingly the number of vacancies in hospitality remain higher than for all sectors indicating skills shortages, but employers are reluctant to raise wages to bridge the gap.”