Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics released on 19 July 2022, with comments from experts

ONS 19 July 2022

Responding to the latest ONS figures, Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute, said:

On the cost of living rises:

“The cost of living crisis is laid bare today as real regular pay saw its biggest quarterly fall on record dating back to the start of the century, seeing a drop of 2.8% from March to May 2022. With energy bills set to rocket further in the autumn, this must be top of the new Prime Minister’s in-tray. But the crisis is being felt unevenly with larger pay rises in sectors like finance, up 6.2%, while the public sector saw the lowest pay rises, at 1.9% – much lower than inflation. With public sector pay bodies set to report shortly, this highlights the need for action to tackle recruitment and retention challenges in our public services.”

On the recruitment crunch:

“The UK has seen the biggest drop in its employment rate of the major G7 economies, driven by an exodus of over 50s from the workforce. Despite a welcome fall in economic inactivity of 144,000 in the last quarter, it’s still up 360,000 since the start of the pandemic. There are now twice as many people economically inactive due to sickness as there are unemployed people. This helps explain why, despite employment still being down, employers are struggling to find enough staff.

Our recent report showed other countries recovering quicker than the UK. The Government should review and reinvest the £2 billion underspend from its Plan for Jobs into a new plan to re-engage the thousands of people who left the workforce through the pandemic.”

On workless young people:

“Every young person deserves the chance to make the most of their talents, so supporting the hundreds of thousands of young people locked out of the jobs market must be a social justice priority. It’s also an economic imperative, given employers are hiring at record levels but still struggling to fill all their roles. Today’s figures show that, despite recent recovery, there are still 624,000 16-24 year olds who are not in full-time education but are economically inactive. With record vacancies, we need to tackle the issues uncovered by today’s research to boost growth, improve our public finances, and help every young person reach their full potential.

We continue to call on the Government to work with partners to urgently roll-out a ‘Youth Guarantee’ to support all young people to access a job, apprenticeship, or a high quality training opportunity.”

DWP Minister, Julie Marson MP said:

“It’s fantastic news that today we’ve got 2 million more women in work than in 2010 and the latest OECD data shows we have the second highest level of women in work in the G7.

“As we grow the economy, it’s vital we make sure everyone can find a job that’s right for them – and importantly that they can progress in work.

“That’s why we’re keeping up our support to get people at any age or career stage into work, including a new multi-million pound offer to help the over 50s get into, and remain in employment.”

Further information: 

ERSA Responds to government package of support for older workers