British workers have benefited from a record-high employment rate recently, with more than three-quarters of people in the UK in secure jobs.
The latest Labour Market Overview, UK from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the employment rate had reached 76.1 per cent from February to April this year.
This is the joint-highest level since records began in 1971, and 0.5 percentage points greater than the figures for the same period last year.
At the same time, the number of people aged 16 to 64 who were not in jobs dropped to 3.8 per cent, which represents the lowest figure since between October and December 1974.
These impressive results are thanks to the government’s new policies, employment minister Alok Sharma recently stated.
He said the fact that there are 3.7 million more people in a job than in 2010 is “a testament to the government’s support for employers and jobseekers”.
The employment minister believes the government’s emphasis on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Britain has helped everyone, from business owners to those working for these firms.
“The government’s focus on pro-business policies and balanced economic management is delivering opportunity for all,” Mr Sharma noted.
As well as reporting a record-high employment rate, the latest figures showed there has never been more women working than there are now. The female employment rate reached 72 per cent between February and April 2019, having been gradually increasing since 2012.
A spokesperson for the ONS said: “The increase in the employment rate for women in recent years is due partly to changes to the State Pension age for women, resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65 years.”
This compounds findings revealed by Personnel Today that showed 31 per cent of people expect to work after they hit 70. The survey, carried out by AIG Life, even reported that one in 14 want to be working into their 80s.
AIG Life’s chief financial officer Donald MacLean said: “Retirement has changed massively in recent years as improvements in life expectancy and health plus changes in the law mean millions are living longer and can work longer if they want to.”
Having an older workforce could be helping to support wage growth, with regular pay having risen by 3.4 per cent in nominal terms and by 1.5 per cent in real terms between February and April. Meanwhile, total pay increased by 3.1 per cent in nominal terms, and by 1.2 per cent in real terms over the same period.
Mr Sharma stated that wage growth was picking up pace, “outstripping inflation for the 15th month in a row”.
This could also be due to the rise in demand for highly-skilled roles, for instance in technology and science, which require more qualifications. He noted the number of employees in these positions showed the biggest increase, and higher-skilled jobs have made up 75 per cent of the employment growth since 2010. Since then, an additional 2.6 million people in these types of positions have been hired.
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