August 28, 2014 4:28 pm Published by

Stock photo recruitment

The labour market is recovering. It has been a long six years since the 2008 crunch heralded the start of ‘The Great Recession’ but, finally, after years of stagnation, recruitment is taking off again. The latest figures, released by the Office for National Statistics on the 11th of June, were hugely positive: unemployment down by 347,000 on the previous year to 6.6% of the economically active population (the biggest annual fall in 16 years), 780,000 more people in work overall than last year, wage growth- albeit still sluggish- gathering a bit more pace. Although some threats persist on the horizon, with Europe remaining in the doldrums and inflation still outpacing wage growth, the recovery does, finally, seem to have firmly set in.

However, despite the positive results of the last year and an economy firing into life it is important to remember that the legacy of the last few years will persist well into the future, particularly for those who have struggled to make their first steps on a jobs ladder that has been firmly pulled up from them in recent years. Whilst employment overall has held up better than forecast, and the current rate of unemployment stands at the impressive 6.4% mentioned earlier, the unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds not in full-time education is, even into the recovery, a worrying 14.5%. These figures too are steadily improving, with many more in this age bracket in employment than last year; however it is important to note that for many of those either still unemployed or now entering the second half of their twenties the employment problems of the last few years will affect their employability, regardless of their qualifications or skillset, for some time to come. This concern is borne out by the fact that nearly 1/3 of currently unemployed young people have been out of work for over a year, seeing skills and confidence erode.

Employers that bear this fact in mind as part of their recruitment strategy, as the labour market and demand in the economy fire back into life, can reap the benefits of having a large pool of well-qualified and keen young people raring to establish themselves, even if belatedly, in their careers. The recovery offers a rare opportunity to businesses once again expanding to select from a wide pool of candidates who have the ability, if not previously the opportunity, to make a real mark in their field. Companies whose strategies don’t factor in the challenges that young people and graduates have faced in the post-2008 jobs market may find that they miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime glut of talent. It is those Recruiters who cast their net widely that will likely see the most benefit over the next few years.

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