‘More high skilled jobs needed’ to sustain labour market growth, Yorkshire academic claims

Companies are hiring at the fastest rate in 16 years, say BDO''Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Companies are hiring at the fastest rate in 16 years, say BDO''Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
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MORE Highly skilled jobs with better prospects and higher wages are needed to ensure growth in the labour market is sustained, a leading Yorkshire academic said.

Dr Iain Clacher, an associate professor at Leeds University Business School, spoke after an independent report said job prospects for graduates were the best since the onset of the financial crisis, with companies hiring at the fastest rate in 16 years.

Dr Clacher said that although the figures from accountancy and business advisory BDO could represent “some of the fabled green shoots of recovery,” there were still structural problems in the labour market that need to be resolved.

He said: “The quality of jobs that are available has to improve, as too many are low-skilled, low-wage, low-prospect jobs. Youth unemployment, those under 25, is also persistently high, and this will lead to problems further down the line.

“For those in work, there needs to be an improvement in wages, as for many they have either had their wages reduced in real terms or they have picked up additional hours to compensate.

“However, both locally and nationally, the fact that employment is on the up will hopefully lead to the other improvements that are needed before we are truly out of the recession of 2008.”

As reported in The Yorkshire Post yesterday, the BDO Employment Index, which covers companies’ hiring intentions in three months’ time, rose to surpass the pre-crisis figure and reach their highest level since 1998 last month, indicating that job creation will continue to accelerate for the remainder of the year.

BDO partner Peter Hemington said: “The good news is that the unprecedented growth we’ve seen in UK employment this year looks set to continue, providing this year’s university graduates with a welcome dose of good news in terms of job and salary prospects.”

However, he warned that the hiring spree was likely to be accompanied by renewed warnings over a shortage of skilled workers, as some construction firms were already turning business away due to a lack of trained staff.

He said: “This could bring the stellar growth we’re enjoying in the wider economy to a grinding halt if the trend becomes entrenched.”

Last month the number of unemployed in Yorkshire fell by 16,000, as the Government hailed an “important milestone” after figures showed record employment across the UK and a fall in the number of people out of work.

Martin Edmondson, chief executive of Sheffield-based recruitment firm Yorkshire Graduates said the graduate labour market was improving nationally and regionally, with vacancies on its site up ten per cent, and some firms suggest that graduate schemes will be increasing around 15 per cent.

He said: “Significantly, these markers bring graduate job levels back above the numbers pre-recession for the first time since 2008, and along with initiatives such as the RISE city graduate scheme in Sheffield make the labour market much more positive for graduates and employers across the region.”

This year, PwC will recruit 79 new graduates across its three Yorkshire offices in Leeds, Hull and Sheffield - a 36 per cent increase from 2013. Ian Morrison, Yorkshire and North East regional leader, said all its new appointments represented a “significant investment” in the company as it continued to grow in the region.