By Daniel Hunter
Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser at the CIPD, believes that the latest unemployment figures show that the market recovery has stalled.
Official data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that UK unemployment rose by 15,000 in the three months from January to March.
“These labour market figures suggest that the labour market recovery appears to have stalled this quarter," Davies said.
"Total hours worked increased marginally in the period January to March but most measures of employment showed falls and pay growth is now well below 1 per cent. Private sector firms are not currently taking on enough staff to offset the contraction in the number of self-employed and public sector workers and the continuing expansion of the UK workforce”.
“The labour market remains a battleground for jobseekers. With 5 unemployed people for every vacancy registered with Jobcentre Plus, there are twice as many unemployed people chasing vacancies as before the recession. Employers need to be aware of the particular impact this has on younger jobseekers.
"Although youth unemployment has fallen slightly — the one bright spot in today’s figures — CIPD figures still show more than forty applicants typically chasing every low-skilled job. That’s why we’re working with employers to take steps to ensure the labour market doesn’t become a “no-go area” for younger job seekers."
The CIPD’s recent report ‘Employers are from Mars, young people are from Venus: Addressing the young people/jobs mismatch’ explored employers’ recruitment practices and highlights the importance of employers ensuring that they don’t inadvertently screen out candidates of different ages or backgrounds for the wrong reasons, for example, by requiring degrees for roles where they are not needed. The report warned that such an approach would marginalise young people most and add to the pool of wasted young talent.
The report also highlighted poor careers advice and guidance in schools as one of core problems. Currently many young people have little understanding of the world of work and don’t know how to improve their chances of finding a job. In order to help overcome this the CIPD is working with the Education and Employers Taskforce on ‘Inspiring the Future’ — an initiative to get HR professionals to volunteer to go into schools to help young people to become more work ready, by offering CV and interview workshops.
“Employers may feel like they’re spoilt for choice with so many candidates for every vacancy at the moment. But if this leads them to always go for the safe option of recruiting people like the ones they already have, they risk leaving a demographic hole in their organisation where young people should go," Davies added.
"This doesn’t only store up problems for the future, it also can contribute to groupthink organisations where new ideas and new ways of doing things are less likely to thrive, stunting agility and competitiveness."
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