Struggle for talent continues despite rise in unemployment – REC

Today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), based on data from October-December 2017, show that both the number of unemployed people and the number of vacancies have increased while real wage growth is still falling. Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) director of policy Tom Hadley comments:

“As inflation is still outstripping pay growth the increase in volume of jobseekers could be a result of households struggling financially and more people are going out to look for work.

“The feedback from recruiters is that one of the overriding challenges remains finding the right candidates for the available vacancies. The fact that more people are now seeking work could help this situation. However, the biggest issue is the skills mismatch the country is facing and the new jobseekers might not necessarily have what employers are looking for.

“Our own data shows that businesses are offering higher starting salaries for new hires which demonstrates what they are prepared to do to find the talent they need. Another specific way to address skills shortages is for government to broaden the Apprenticeship Levy so the whole workforce including agency workers can benefit from training.”


Notes to editors:

1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 or An ISDN line is available for interviews on 0207 021 0584.

2. There were 1.47 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 46,000 more than for July to September 2017 but 123,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

For November 2017 to January 2018 there were 823,000 job vacancies, the highest since records began in 2001. There were 815,000 vacancies in October to December 2017; 807,000 vacancies in September to November 2017; 799,000 in August to October 2017; and 793,000 in July to September 2017.

The full ONS statistical release is available at:

3. Jobs transform lives, which is why we are building the best recruitment industry in the world. As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need. We are absolutely passionate and totally committed in this pursuit for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire. Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at