In a concerning development for the UK’s labour market, recent findings from a report by the accounting and business advisory firm BDO indicate a significant downturn in hiring, with job vacancies reaching their lowest point in a decade. This trend, marking a continual decline since August 2013, poses serious challenges for UK workers seeking new opportunities or considering career shifts.
The BDO report reveals a concerning index reading of 99.12 points, a figure that has steadily fallen over the past six months. While there was a slight increase in business optimism in December, the overall outlook remains bleak. Factors such as higher borrowing costs and inflation are expected to stagnate the UK’s GDP growth, directly impacting the employment landscape.
Despite the modest growth in business confidence, it is hindered by a myriad of issues, including the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, reduced consumer spending, and international conflicts. BDO anticipates a further decline in employment, citing the prevailing uncertainty around interest rates and weak business demand as key contributors to this downward trajectory.
The report forecasts an unsettling increase in the unemployment rate, projecting it to reach 4.6% in the second and third quarters of 2024. This anticipated rise is a significant jump from the 4.2% rate recorded over the three months leading to October, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Kaley Crosswaite, a partner at BDO, highlights the resilience of the UK’s services sector, which saw a modest upturn in both optimism and output during December, buoyed by the festive season. However, she emphasizes the crucial need for renewed government support for businesses. According to Ms. Crosswaite, such support is vital for enhancing productivity, increasing recruitment efforts, and bolstering skills within the workforce – all of which are key to reviving the economy.
The Workers Union Says…
“This situation presents a challenging landscape for UK workers, especially those seeking to change jobs or pursue different career paths. As the nation gears up for 2024, the importance of strategic government interventions and support for businesses cannot be overstated. Only through these measures can the UK hope to counter the adverse effects of the current economic challenges and foster a more robust and resilient job market.”