By Max Clarke

Today’s latest statistics from the ONS shows that UK unemployment rose by 49,000 to 2.5 million in the three months to the end of November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

Youth unemployment is an area of particular concern with one in five 16 to 24-year-olds now out of work, after a rise of 32,000 to 951,000 without jobs, the highest figure since records began in 1992.

Liz Field, Chief Executive of the FSSC believes that the rise in unemployment amongst young people is expected to have serious knock on effects for UK economic growth in general with more graduates out of work than ever before and the skills gap continuing to widen further still:

“It is thus essential that quality vocational qualifications, such as apprenticeships be made available for new entrants and we believe to graduates in the job market. Employer- hosted programmes could boost the skills of an entire youth generation whose current precarious outlook questions its ability to lead the country forward.”

Today’s news comes off the back of recent gloomy research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which suggests unemployment among those eligible to work will increase from 7.9% to 9%, and recent news from the British Chamber of Commerce predicts a tough year for the services sector, which comprises 76.2% of the national GDP.

Of the services sector, Financial Services accounts for 10% of the total UK GDP and employs 1 million (of 31 million employed) people in the UK, with 32% of these in London.

Field adds, “We expect employment growth in Financial Services to improve; however, we don't expect employment to regain the jobs lost during 2008/9. Whilst in accountancy and finance we expect to see further 1.2 per cent decline in employment in 2011.The competitiveness of the British economy is dependent upon harnessing the talents of a rich and diverse talent pool across the UK. The onus is on businesses and education training providers to be more creative and flexible with jobseekers.

Our sector will continue to adapt to the economic climate and regulatory environment during 2011, focusing on the skills that will be needed to succeed. Firms responding to our recent survey which asked about their recruitment plans for the next twelve months saw only 35 per cent planning to increase headcount. Firms are still grappling with a difficult trading environment and are not prepared to increase fixed cost. Aggressive hiring is a thing of the past or limited to very specific areas and roles.”