Analysis of the Dynamic UK Labour Market
Name of Class (Course)
The UK labor market has transformed greatly for only a year in 2020, and this calls for attention to any Human resource officer and aspiring candidates to pay close attention and readjust to the new norms. Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the economy thus slowing down employment, increasing redundancies, and reducing the overall working hours. Inclusivity employment has also gone down because of Brexit and Covid 19. Many of the immigrants coming into the UK have reduced because of Brexit and women workers have been more affected with Job losses because of Covid. The economy is also hosting the Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z at the same time currently. All three groups have different needs and need to be accommodated in the talent management practices. Technology is also fast-changing and staying behind would render businesses obsolete. Organizations, therefore, need to apply proper human resource planning techniques to deal with the labor demand and supply. They should be adept in appreciating changes and emerging trends to make their functions effectively. A Graduate seeking employment within the new era should work on improving their technological acuity, soft skills, and being flexible to make them competent for the roles.
Every economic pundit would bear testimony that the UK labor market underwent a crisis in 2020. Statistics from the Office of National Statistics revealed several worrying trends. Employment, working hours, job vacancy rates went down drastically within the first two quarters of the year while redundancies increased. The major concerns came from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic which rendered many of the traditional talent management systems useless. Companies have had to bring in new technologies to ease communication and their functions and at the same time train workers fast enough to use them. Brexit has also rendered the labor market supplies to diminish and thus introduce a talent scramble. Gender and ethnic balance is still a problem that has not been sort out even in this generation of empowerment and affirmative action. The UK generational geography is also a problem that companies are fighting to balance in their day-to-day activities. The UK labor market has transformed greatly for only a year in 2020, and this calls for attention to any Human resource officer and aspiring candidates to pay close attention and readjust to the new norms.
Trends in UK Labor Market Between March 2020 and February 2021
The onset of Covid 19 to the UK economy was a twin pandemic because it affected the health of the labor market and the structure of the job within the economy. The lockdowns instituted within these periods resulted in many companies closing down and others applying different working measures such as working from home. Due to this, the number of payrolled employees reduced by 635,000 (Francis- Devine, Powell, & Foley, 2021, p. 9). The industries that experienced the largest falls were food services and accommodation, entertainment, arts, and recreation. The unemployment rates have also gone down significantly ((Costa, and Stephen Machin, 2020, p. 1). The younger generation between 16-24 were also the most affected people (Francis- Devine, Powell, & Foley, 2021, p. 9). Other statistics associated with Covid 19 included, reduction in overall working hours, drops in the numbers of job vacancies, and an increase in redundancies recorded ((Costa, and Stephen Machin, 2020, p. 1; Mayhew & Anand, 2020, pp 224;
Women and Diversity in Employment
In 2020, the number of women in employment above the ages of 16 was 15.49 million in the October-December quarter. The numbers translated to a drop in the female employment rate from 72.4% in 2019 to 71.8% in 2020 (). Women also majorly in part-time employment at 38% compared to men at 13% (Dy, Jayawarna. and Marlow, 2020, p. 3). The average wages of the women were lower than men at £543 and £619 respectively. Corona Virus has also had a significant impact on women because, in the reported cases of job losses and redundancies, women’s numbers were higher than men’s. The ethnic minorities within the employment sector reduced in the year 2020. According to the office for National Statistics, the number of ethical minorities reduced to 3.697 million in the October-December quarter, down from 4.045 million people. The country’s reliance on ethical minorities for the semiskilled positions will cause a problem because of the reduction in these numbers after Brexit.
The lowering of the UK GDP that stems from Brexit translated to the lowering of the level of employment opportunities in the UK in 2020. The many economical models about Brexit, all point out a loss in GDP compared to the initial status quo that the country enjoyed. The loss of jobs in 2020 resulted in a lowering of demand for UK goods within the EU (Javorcik, Stapleton, Kett, & O’Kane 2020, p. 21). The country has heavily relied on the service sector, which has also been our main export and job creator. As of the end of 2019, there a shrinking supply of labor and skills reported by the many companies experiencing recruitment difficulties (LMO, 2019.) The shortages would therefore be dependent on migrant workers coming from the EU. After Brexit, many EU-born workers left the UK and it left a gap between the low-skilled and medium-skilled workers. The migration effects on employment have not been fully experienced because of the travel restrictions implemented during the Covid period.
The unforeseen problem within the UK labor market is the threat of the Babyboomers. According to LMO, the labor participation rate for the baby boomers is high; more than 20% of people above 65years are either employed or actively seeking employment (Taylor, 2019). The Bureau of statistics on the other hand predicts that the over 65 workforces will continue growing. The threats posed by the baby boomers are that they are currently serving at top positions and preventing the progression of younger generations despite their higher sick pays and life assurance bills, they will also cause a brain drain upon retirement.
Generation Z and millennials on the other hand possess their troubles in talent management which also have to be addressed. T attract and keep these two talents, there is a need to increase flexibility in their job structures. They ant modernized offices, and they prefer the use of technology. Generation Z also has their preferences such as being collaborative other than competitive, are entrepreneurial, and are oriented towards salaries and job security. Dealing with the differences in needs for each generation poses a great problem as everyone has to be catered for.
Emerging Trends and Tech
The workplace in the UK in 2020 faced a lot of disruption because Covid and work enablement was only possible through flexibility and the use of technology. Many had to work from home through teleconferencing and telecommunication applications which had to be learned on short notice. Even after the Covid-19 period, the same trend will follow and workers will expect reliance on tech and flexibility. Several emerging trends have also been witnessed in each industry, thus forcing the market to change consistently to the needs. Talent management is therefore forced to consistently change and adopt these new trends to keep them afloat.
Responses that Organizations Have Made to the Trends
In response to Covid-19. UK organizations restructured their working environments to accommodate the new restrictions structures. Working from home was the first most viable option and they employed teleconferencing facilities to ensure everyone was at per with the others (Francis- Devine, Powell, & Foley, 2021, p. 10). The HR carried out a proper workload inventory and redeployed workers to critical areas of the organization. The redeployment was followed by a proper training program to help them fit into their new roles. Some roles were merged with others and some departments reduced or increased to suit the prevailing needs at the time (Caligiuri et al 220, pp1). All these efforts were in place to ensure people had as minimal contact as possible, the companies would save on costs and still manage to cater to their customers.
The shortages in labor in 2020 caused by Brexit and Covid-19 also forced many organizations in the UK to adopt a proper human resource planning technique. Companies are taking into account demand planning to determine the job roles they would need to fill; this is done by assessing the Hr capacity against the workload. The supply current is limited therefore organizations need to carry out an early supply forecasting to determine the sources of their next employees. At this point on, the Hrs would refine their talent strategies such as recruitment, hiring, training, remuneration, and performance management. When the right demand and supply forecasting is carried out, organizations can deal even with the shortfalls in the labor market.
UK companies are recognizing the fact that the majority of their workforce will have to re-skill in the next five years owing to the emerging technologies in IoT, Artificial intelligence, blockchain, and Machine learning. Many of these organizations are using mobile learning technologies as a just-in-time and easy system of delivering knowledge. Instead of traditional training, these are more personalized and use the LMS systems that can track individual patterns and tailor the content. The LMS system also identifies the skills gaps of the workers and plan for learning interventions. Technological methods are also used in the recruiting process to reduce bias and provide the right fit for the company. These same systems follow up with the employees to track their performances and device reward systems that are holistic. Technology systems have therefore been effective in keeping employees engaged consistently, monitoring their progress, training them often, and rewarding them for their progress.
Implications for resources and talent management
Talent management during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult thing as there was no applicable playbook as each situation presented different sets of conditions. There have however been great lessons learned from the pandemic that would improve talent management in the future. The main lesson learned is to focus on employee wellbeing. The period showed organizations the importance of checking in with their staff, supporting them through hard times while investing more resources in covering their health and wellbeing (Eileen Aitken et al. 2020, pp1). Adaptation has also a key ingredient in the survival of many organizations during the season. HR has learned to focus on the adaptability of employees during the hiring process; this flexibility would help them learn and change within the job. Organizations have also had to accept that digital is a new reality (Niamh, 2020, pp. 1). During the pandemic, organizations have had to train and apply new digital technologies in conferencing, doing works, and meeting (Eileen Aitken et al. 2020, pp1). It is now inevitable to dismiss the use of these platforms henceforth.
Implications to Graduate Employability in the UK Labor Market Today
It is time for graduates to embrace digital technology and online platforms because new technology has shifted many traditional functions into digital platforms. The technology is relied upon majorly to conduct business, Companies, therefore, had to adopt cloud-based communication, productivity tools, teleconferencing facilities among others (Niamh, 2020, pp. 1). The majority of these facilities had already been in existence but were rejected or ignored. A workplace-ready graduate should have the technological know-how to perform in their roles using these modern applications and be ready to embrace more that will come along.
Organizations are also now looking for a graduate who constantly evolves and changes. Organizations are not hiring necessarily for roles but are building a team for a career. In this way, they seek people who can change roles easily, take more responsibility and learn new things fast (Buheji, and Buheji, 2020, pp240). At the end of the day, the graduate who is more adaptable and those who can work within diverse teams are becoming more marketable. While not every graduate will have all the qualities required for such a time, the best candidates would be those who are ready to learn and those who are culturally fit.
The current talent market has further emphasized the need for certain soft skills within its workforce. The need for better communication and organization has become apparent because of the remote work. Employees have been required to share ideas, contribute actively in discussions virtually. Working from home has also required them to be well organized, create better schedules, and while at it manage the stress brought about by the period. Teamwork is also a major soft skill that has pushed the workers through because people had to work in smaller virtual teams to reach the targets (Buheji, and Buheji, 2020, pp240). These will be soft skills that employers will focus on when employing new staff post-Covid.
The modern job market is not ideal, and the timing also terrible. It however offers some opportunities for people to work and grow towards professional success. It is required that Graduates prepare well before rushing into jobs and applications. They need to continuously learn new skills through online platforms and develop skills that would give them the edge. To practice their skills, graduates could also participate in volunteer work part-time opportunities, and projects (Gill., 2020, pp12). These would help them to develop the right frame of mind for a real working environment. It is also time for graduates to consider remote work as a viable source of employment.
Covid-19 pandemic slowed down the economy thus slowing down employment, increasing redundancies, and reducing the overall working hours. Inclusivity employment has also gone down because of Brexit and Covid 19. Many of the immigrants coming into the UK have reduced because of Brexit and women workers have been more affected with Job losses because of Covid. The economy is also hosting the Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generation Z at the same time currently. All three groups have different needs and need to be accommodated in the talent management practices. Technology is also fast-changing and staying behind would render businesses obsolete. Organizations, therefore, need to apply proper human resource planning techniques to deal with the labor demand and supply. They should be adept in appreciating changes and emerging trends to make their functions effectively. A Graduate seeking employment within the new era should work on improving their technological acuity, soft skills, and being flexible to make them competent for the roles.
Buheji, M. and Buheji, A., 2020. Planning competency in the new Normal–employability competency in a post-COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 10(2), pp.237-251.
Caligiuri, P., De Cieri, H., Minbaeva, D., Verbeke, A. and Zimmermann, A., 2020. International HRM insights for navigating the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for future research and practice.
Costa, R. and Stephen Machin (2020). COVID-19 and the Labor Market. [online] IZA – Institute of Labor Economics. Available at: https://covid-19.iza.org/crisis-monitor/uk/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2021].
Eileen Aitken-Fox Jane Coffey, Gupta, C., McKenna, S., Comments, A.W.T., Fitzgerald, S., Dayaram, K. and Jane Coffey (2020). The impact of Covid-19 on human resource management: avoiding generalizations. [online] LSE Business Review. Available at: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2020/05/22/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-human-resource-management-avoiding-generalisations/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021].
Francis Devine, B, Powell, A, & Foley, N, 2021, ‘Corona Virus: Impact on the Labour Market’, House of Commons Library, Vol.8893, pp 1-27
Gill, R.J., 2020. Graduate employability skills through online internships and projects during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Australian example. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 11(1), pp.146-158.
Mayhew, K. and Anand, P., 2020. COVID-19 and the UK Labour Market. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 36(Supplement_1), pp.S215-S224.
Niamh, O. (2020). How COVID-19 Is Changing Graduate Recruitment. [online] TopMBA.com. Available at: https://www.topmba.com/jobs/employers/how-covid-19-changing-graduate-recruitment [Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.
Javorcik, B., Stapleton, K., Kett, B., and O’Kane, L., 2020. Unraveling deep integration: Local labor market effects of the Brexit vote. CEPR Discussion Paper 14222.
Dy, A.M., Jayawarna, D. and Marlow, S., 2020. Labour Market Changes in the Digital Era: UK Women and the Shift to Part-Time Self-Employment. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2020, No. 1, p. 17409). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.
Click here for more