The latest ONS figures are fantastic news for British employees, showing employment growth and wage rises that put workers in a strong position when it comes to raises and moves. But for employers, it’s not such a sunny picture.
The unemployment rate is at the lowest level since 1975, falling by 27,000 in the three months to February to 1.34 million, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published on Tuesday. Meanwhile, wages are growing at the fastest rate since the 2016 Brexit referendum.
However, for employers this creates a tougher hiring environment and mounting wage bills.
“The latest employment growth figures may be good for employees but they represent a major challenge for employers,” explained Neil Pickering, industry & customer insights manager at Kronos Incorporated.
“With unemployment now so low, UK organisations can no longer access a pool of low cost, high quality workers to help increase their output.
“Competition to attract, hire and retain workers has increased wages, which is further exacerbating the need to deliver higher productivity and efficiency.”
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Employment growth: How technologies can help businesses
Pickering argues that this employment growth, paired with the previously published data revealing falling productivity in the UK, demonstrates “poor technological and people investments by many UK organisations”.
And with UK employers facing a tougher hiring market that may become more challenging when the UK leaves the European Union, technology may be vital to combatting the issue.
“Investments in new technology that are able to optimise people and equipment performance is desperately needed – if UK organisations are to compete effectively at a local and global level.,” he said.
This includes technologies such as robotic process automation, which can be reduced to reduce the amount of repetitive tasks human employees have to compete, as well as wider people management technologies.
“Ultimately, the organisations that thrive and those that fail will be measured by their ability to embed and embrace technological change.”