Are storm clouds gathering over UK plc?

Just Recruitment Group Ltd director Peter Foy examines the latest employment figures from the ONS.

On Tuesday, 19 February 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its regular report on the UK labour market, giving information about the latest employment figures.

At a time when most commentators are warning of impending economic meltdown, the ONS report appears to contain encouraging news.

In the last quarter of 2018, 75.8pc of people aged between 16 and 64 were employed. That is the highest figure since the first Labour Market Report was published in 1971. Male employment, meanwhile, stands at 80.3pc: the highest it has been since the first quarter of 1991. And female employment is at its highest ever figure, 71.4pc.

Other figures that contribute to an economic feel-good factor include:

  • 96pc of the 444,000 new jobs created in the economy over the last 12 months are full-time roles
  • 53pc of these roles were filled by women
  • Average weekly earnings, allowing for inflation, are higher than at any time since 2010
  • The number of people on zero-hours contracts is down by 6.3pc – a drop of 57,000
  • The number of temporary employees has remained constant at 5.6pc of the workforce, but the number taking a temporary role because they can’t find a permanent job has fallen

So, good news all round for the UK economy, despite the political uncertainty we’re currently facing.

Or is it?

One of the interesting data sets in the ONS report is the unemployment figures since 1971, reproduced below:

The graph shows that the early 1980s saw a marked growth in unemployment as the government wrestled with the unions. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Margaret Thatcher’s government was torn apart by squabbles over Europe, leading to huge political and economic instability. Then came Black Wednesday, on John Major’s watch in 1992, and the country’s ignominious exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). The result was another sharp increase in unemployment in the years leading up to 1993, followed by a gradual easing over subsequent years.

The tide turned again following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Unemployment rose steeply, before finally dipping in the run up to the 2015 general election.

My point is straightforward: political uncertainty leads to an increase in unemployment. Yet since 2012, although we have had two general elections, the destabilising Brexit referendum, a minority government and both the main political parties in an apparent state of disarray, unemployment has steadily reduced.

In the commentary I have read about the ONS employment numbers, I haven’t found a single explanation as to why or how the economy is managing not to buckle.

All of which makes me think: perhaps the bad news is just around the corner. Before a major Tsunami, the sea recedes, exposing new stretches of beach. Is UK plc enjoying a false calm when we should be heading for the hills and preparing for a tidal wave? Only time will tell.

Published: 20 March 2019

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like – How to find your passion

You may also like to read – Why smart workers aren’t busy doing nothing

Jobs currently available

Marketing Executive
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: £19,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908800
About the role

Are you target-driven and enjoy creating and implementing marketing strategists? 

Are you a people person who enjoys developing relationships? 

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Marketing Executive on behalf of a company based in Colchester. 

Your duties will include: 

  • Effectively implement subscription marketing plans and renewals to meet the agreed targets. 
  • Develop and agree cost-effective promotional activities, with an agreed expected revenue return. 
  • Use information and systems to prepare pre-activity forecasts, track performance and undertake post-activity evaluation to supply to the Senior Marketing Executive and Marketing and Promotions Manager. 
  • Identify potential problems and propose solutions. 

You will be: 

  • Able to think laterally, to make use of all our marketing channels to leverage subscriptions through promotional content across print and digital, email marketing, social media, exhibitions and much more. 
  • Analytical, and keen to monitor and evaluate the success of marketing initiatives through weekly reporting to feed back to the Senior Marketing Executive. 
  • Detail-orientated and able to take responsibility for the day-to-day management of all campaigns, including setting up promotions, briefing studio, building web pages, setting up media requests for our subscriptions bureau, photography, briefing the warehouse, managing the e-commerce website ensuring all offers are loaded for relevant brands. 
Read more
Sales Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: Negotiable
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908761
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a well-established manufacturing company based in Witham.

You will have the ambition to succeed and the ability to work on your own initiative with good customer service skills.

Duties include:

  • Following up quotes by phone and email
  • Checking quotes and emails and adjusting prices to win business
  • Prospect calling
  • Booking meetings for the Business Development Managers
  • Warm calls to existing calls
  • Technical queries, quotes and orders
  • Customer service and query answering
  • Incoming calls

Working ideally 9.00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday.

20 days holiday per year (3 to be taken over Xmas) + bank holidays.

Read more
QC Technician
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £15.00 per hour
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 908368
About the role

Calling all QC Technicians

Do you have a degree in chemistry?

Do you have effective communication skills?

Do you have experience and working knowledge in a Chemical and Biological Analytical Technique environment?

Do you have experience in dissolved gas analysis and blood gas analysis?

Just Recruitment is looking to recruit on behalf of a busy company based in the Sudbury (Suffolk) area for a QC Technician on a temporary ongoing basis.

Responsibilities:

  • QC testing, data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting.
  • Preparing for customer, regulatory and notified body audits.
  • Quality Related Training.
  • Quality testing related improvement projects and quality initiatives.
  • Understanding of GxP requirements.

Working hours:

Monday to Friday, 7:45am to 4:50pm.

Benefits:

  • Free tea and coffee.
  • On site parking.
  • Weekly pay.
Read more
Machine Operator
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.40 per hour
Location: Haverhill
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 908151
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for an experienced Machine Operator on behalf of a company based in Haverhill.

Working hours are:

Monday to Friday, 8am until 5pm.

Read more
Operational Support Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Dependant on experience
Location: Gillingham, Kent
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908799
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Operational Support Engineer (Automotive) on behalf of a company based in Gillingham, Kent.

Your main duties and responsibilities:

  • Deliver projects and process improvements from concept through to completion.
  • Provide practical problem solving on the process.
  • To support the operation in terms of providing the means and process to manufacture product to the correct quality, volume as well as cost.
  • To actively reduce costs of manufacture (MEIT) whilst maintaining product quality and volume.
  • Support the hourly needs of the operation by monitoring and responding to process output signals such as OA performance, Traffic light charts, FTQ data etc.
  • Monitor daily reject returns, gather data and implement robust fixes.
  • Work closely with operations to ensure production output targets are sustained.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that all equipment used in manufacturing or assembly processes is functioning and in specification.
  • Create operational standard work and line balance, understanding process constraints.
  • Be responsible for ensuring that all gauging equipment used in manufacturing or assembly processes is functioning, working within specification and calibrated.
  • To provide structured problem-solving activity and liaise with internal and/or external individuals on problem resolution.
  • Carry out FMEA process documentation and implement improvements.
  • Ensure that the work environment meets the requirements for environmental, ergonomic, health and safety considerations.

Essential requirements:

  • Hands on experience of CNC machining processes in a manufacturing environment – grinding, turning, milling etc.
  • Ability to work in a structured, organised manner and mindful of standard work – both as applied to the manufacturing process and in the engineers’ approach to workload.
  • Analytical and data literate.
  • Current IT knowledge of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, project etc.

Desirable requirements:

  • Ideally (Mechanical) Engineering Degree or ‘time served’ or relevant industry experience in a broad spectrum of activities.
  • Various shifts including day shifts are available.
Read more