Responding to the latest Labour Market figures from the ONS, Jane Gratton, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Labour market data continues to send mixed messages, as vacancies trend downward, but unemployment and employment remain largely static and pay growth outstrips inflation.
“But while we may have fewer vacancies, we still have a major shortage of skills across our economy. This is holding back productivity and growth. So now is the time to redouble efforts to prepare, upskill and reskill the workforce for the changes and opportunities ahead of us.
“These remain challenging times for firms and the BCC’s most recent forecast predicts the economy will grow by just 0.6% in 2024 and business investment will contract by 0.8%. Government must do all it can to help businesses invest more in apprenticeships, technical education and upskilling people in work.
“Every day, employers are struggling to fill jobs, so it’s essential that everyone who wants to work is given the opportunities and training they need to do so, urgently.
“The Autumn Statement included some welcome steps, but with the immigration system now looking out of reach for most businesses, the Government must encourage investment in skills training and set out a stable, long-term strategy to support this.”