The Spectator Event: Coffee House Live: Election Special

To gain insight into how politics might affect the jobs market Daniel and I attended The Spectator’s election special event on Tuesday evening. With all of the big manifesto announcements coming from the party machines, we thought some analysis from the political experts wouldn’t go amiss.

Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator

The panel included Fraser Nelson (editor of The Spectator), James Forsyth (Political editor of The Spectator), Katy Balls (The Spectator’s deputy political editor) and Matthew Goodwin (Professor of Politics in The School of Politics and International Relations at The University of Kent).

Katy Balls, Deputy Political Editor of The Spectator (left), Kelly Yeates (me) Amdas Recruitment (right).

Key Take-Aways

The key points that were particularly relevant for recruitment were made by Fraser Nelson at the outset.

Referring to data charts, he covered these keys areas:

·       Average salaries

·       Wage rises

·       Unemployment

·       Taxation

As you might be aware, these are areas which play into recruitment. According to Fraser Nelson’s research, the average salary is still way below where it was before the financial crash. Over 10 years on, it has yet to recover. The projections showed that the average salary is not forecast to get back to where it was (before the crash) for another decade.

However, since 2010, low earners have seen their wages rise over the last ten years. Based on the figures, Fraser Nelson asserted that, whilst there has been a lot of misery caused by austerity, those with the lowest-paid jobs have seen their wages rise the fastest.

When these points are considered along with the unemployment rate, a clear picture begins to emerge. As Fraser said, the economy is currently a huge ‘jobs creating machine’. Unemployment is at a record low and the employment rate is forecast to continue to rise.

If wages rise, taxation will become important, particularly with both major parties planning to turn on the spending taps.

What does all of this mean for recruitment?

What became apparent from the wider political discussion was that there could be changes whichever party forms a government. For example, if implemented, Labour’s four-day working week policy could create many more jobs. However, if pay remains the same for fewer hours, employers’ wage bills would increase dramatically.  Depending on the role, such a policy might result in people having to work longer hours on the 4 days that they do work – as happened in France. This will make recruitment more difficult by further reducing the talent pool. After all, not everyone is in a position to stay late at work.

That said, we have seen that, while the Conservative policies are keeping the employment rate high and are creating more jobs, the Brexit position has seen EU workers leaving the UK workforce. This has created a skills shortage. Therefore, employers are struggling to find candidates they need to fill key positions within their organisations. This, again, puts an additional burden on existing staff to work longer hours and to increase their workload. Overall, nothing has been announced as yet that would potentially tackle the difficulty.

In short, whoever wins, it looks like the challenges for recruiters will remain pretty much the same. Unless, of course, we enter another recession or take a Brexit hit if Brexit happens. But until January at least, it will remain a candidate’s market.

Dan enjoying the evening

If you would like to listen to the live podcast from the event, you can do so by clicking the link and downloading the episode:  Spectator Podcast

Post Publication Update 15/11/2019:

Amdas emailed The Spectator regarding the charts Fraser Nelson used during the event. The Spectator team has kindly provided the charts which can be found below. Please note that I have put them in the order in which they are discussed in the podcast. However, in this blog, I refer to figures (charts) 7, 8, 9 and 10.

N.B: The charts reflect the figures which were most recent at the time of the podcast.

Figures 1 and 2

Figures 3 and 4

Figures 5 and 6

Figures 6 and 7

Figures 8 and 9

Figures 10 and 11

Figures 12 and 13

Figure 14