by Laura Dobie
Last week the UK Commission for Employment and Skills published The Labour Market Story, a series of reports exploring how the UK labour market is working following recession. In this article, we take a closer look at the results and key findings.
The reports reviewed research from the UKCES, other UK organisations and international sources to investigate:
- the current and recent performance of the UK labour market (The labour market story: the UK following recession);
- the supply of skills in the UK, and skills mismatches (The labour market story: the state of UK skills);
- the use of skills in the workplace (The labour market story: skills use at work); and
- future skills challenges (The labour market story: skills for the future).
The research revealed that while the UK economy is returning to sustained recovery, this has taken longer than before. There has been sustained growth in self-employment, and a rise in precarious forms of work, such as casual and short term work, and zero hours contracts. Youth unemployment is four times the rate for those aged 24 to 64.
There has been a long term reduction in administrative and secretarial work in many industries, typical middle level jobs, which has led to increasing polarisation in the labour market. Those with higher skills and qualifications are more likely to remain in employment and have considerably greater earnings prospects, highlighting the importance of skills in individuals’ labour market outcomes.