The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revised its estimates of the size and shape of the UK labour market showing that it has a bigger workforce, with employment up 170,000 compared to previous estimates.
However, the ONS has also highlighted that the number of people economically inactive due to long-term sickness has been revised up from its previous record high of 2.6 million to 2.8 million.
Independent think tank, the Resolution Foundation, explained that ONS’ reweighting of the labour force survey was to reflect the UK population growing faster than previously thought and it confirms that the labour market is bigger but weaker than previous estimates.
The ONS has also revised the shape of the UK population, with a slightly larger share of younger (aged 16–17 and 18–24) workers (up 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively), and a smaller share of workers aged 25–34 and 50–64 (down 0.3 and 0.2 percentage points).
Hannah Slaughter, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain has a bigger, but sicker, workforce than we previously thought. Of particular concern is that the fact that a record 2.8 million people in the country are currently inactive due to ill-health. Tackling rising ill-health is a huge social and economic challenge that we’ll be facing throughout the 2020s, as will getting the UK employment back up to and beyond pre-pandemic levels.”
Our HR Comment / Advice: – Britain has a bigger but sicker workforce than previously thought | Consensus HR – Herts, Beds
Matthew Chilcott, FCIPD, ACEL, Owner of Consensus HR comments: There are some very interesting statistics within this article and interesting how it differs dependent of age. Sickness within the team can cause severe consequences within any business and is why we always ensure a suitable, proactive sickness Policy & Procedure I introduced with management taking the necessary action as requested. All employees regardless of length of service or sickness should have a return-to-work meeting arranged, to discuss their absence and identify if there is any action the company / employee can take to support them, whilst ensuring it does not become a regular occurrence. Failure to manage sickness appropriately can result in a demotivated team and drop in sales and customer service.”
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