Press release:

ONS Labour Market Overview - Employers and Managers Face Enormous Uncertainty

Tuesday 15 March 2022

CMI calls for Government support for families and businesses in Spring Statement to ensure continued recovery

The latest ONS labour market statistics released this morning show that the rate of unemployment continued to recover to 3.9% in the quarter (Nov-Jan) from 4.1% in the previous quarter (Oct-Dec), returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The continuing recovery in the 3 months to January, was supported by strong economic growth in January and the resilience of businesses and their employment practices amidst the outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Job vacancies continued to rise to new records at over 1.3 million. However, the rate of growth in vacancies continued to slow. Whilst demand for workers remains strong and many employers are facing shortages, new job vacancies may be slowing as employee turnover eases and/or employers ease recruitment activity.

Anthony Painter, Director of Policy, CMI said:

“The UK jobs data continues to show some encouraging signs of recovery from the most intensive phases of the pandemic. Yet, employers face extraordinary levels of uncertainty.

Key to navigating risks emerging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ongoing impacts of the pandemic on supply chains will be maintaining good relationships with workers and suppliers. Where vacancies are high, supportive management is even more critical.

Signs are there that pay and bonuses are struggling to keep up with inflation and the cost of living crisis, particularly through energy costs, will cause enormous pain in coming months.

Government needs to implement a generous package of support in next week's Spring Statement for those who will struggle with bills over the coming months. This will also help businesses by supporting demand and alleviating pressures on employees. 

And managers will need to plan ahead to ensure support for staff and suppliers wherever possible in the coming very rocky months ahead.”

The tight jobs market has supported pay rises as pay growth accelerated to 4.8% in the 3 months to January. Managers and business leaders will need to strike a balance between passing on higher costs to customers through higher prices and managing relations with employees who will rightly anticipate significant financial stresses.

CMI is advising that managers will need support from their employers as they navigate an exceptionally tough economic environment. They will need support in balancing short against the longer term actions such as continuing to develop workforce skills and supporting pay whilst managing the short-term cost pressures on the business.

Government policy will be important in helping employers and managers balance these demands. CMI calls for help for families in managing the increasing cost of living (particularly given enormous price rises in energy bills) and support for skilled workers to return to the labour market, even if part-time to help meet employer jobs needs. Such action would also help employers navigate enormous uncertainty ahead.

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About the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) 

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the Chartered professional body for Management and Leadership, counting over 170,000 managers and leaders in its membership community. There are currently over 12,000 Chartered Managers and growing. Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation able to award Chartered Manager status – the ultimate management accolade, which is proven to boost individuals’ career prospects, management capability, and impact in the workplace.