June Market Review

A Time for Strategic Thinking

It is clear that Brexit has had an impact in the first quarter of 2019 on the jobs market; but it is only one factor in the rapid changes that are underway and require strategic re-assessment rather than short-term tinkering.

ONS May 2019 has reported that the 76.1% of the 16 – 64 population are working. The highest since the early 1970’s. The UK has the 4th highest employment rate anywhere in the world; behind Iceland, Switzerland and Sweden, all of whom have much smaller economies. 3.8% of the population are unemployed. Full time working put on 372,000 jobs in the last year, offsetting a small decline in part time jobs. Earnings increased ahead of inflation. All in all, the picture appears positive.

However there are issues arising. Low productivity (GDP growth of 1.4% despite near full employment) and skills shortages are grey clouds on the horizon.

The skills shortage could become a fracture line which affects the whole economy. Traditionally the draw of living and working in the UK has pulled highly qualified people from the EU27. But this has slowed markedly; down by 60% year on year. So what are the strategies that can be deployed?


  1. compete better for your share of the decreasing pool or
  2. increasing the size of the talent pool.

The former will see an increase in employment costs and a need to sharpen recruiting techniques. The latter sees a need for more and better training with accompanying questions over who can do the training at the required level and who should pay for it: employer, employee or government?

At Harris Lord our candidate surveys are mirroring work done at London Business School and PwC in 2019. Whilst ‘salary increase’ is still a strong motivation in making a job move we are increasingly seeing more mentions of workload, working conditions, management styles, inspirational leadership and training opportunities.

Harris Lord can help with competing better for your share of the talent available. When taking the brief from a client, we are spending more time understanding these points as well as getting to grips with the technical requirements. It is then down to our skills in finding, assessing and convincing the candidates that the opportunities meet these higher demands.

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6th June

Client Advice

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