The number of people out of work in the UK fell by 58,000 to 1.91 million in the three months to November, official figures indicate. UK earnings are outpacing inflation again (Reuters) and unemployment has fallen to 5.8 % – a six and a half year low. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the fall in unemployment showed the UK’s wider economic recovery was back on track.

The number of people in employment rose by 37,000 to 30.8 million in the three months through November (ONS Figures). Wage growth also remained above the current 0.5% inflation rate with average total pay (pay including bonuses) – rising by 1.7% in the three months to November, almost double the rate of inflation in November of 1%. (ONS)

David Cameron may be hoping the recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures provide the pre election boost his government is after but perhaps we should we focus our attention towards Vince Cable and his warning that there was “more to be done”? There are still signs of some slowing down, although pay has picked up, in real terms it is still well below its levels before the financial crisis and not expected to fully return until around 2018.

Do we feel better off, more employable and better paid? Maybe voters will prefer to grant the increase in their spending power to other factors such as the recent plunge in international oil prices and the impact on household bills?

Whatever the National employment picture is, one thing to be sure of is that Accountancy and Finance jobs across Surrey, Middlesex, Berkshire and Hampshire have significantly increased in volume throughout 2014 /2015. Competition for good candidates is changing the market and changing the way clients and candidates behave in their job searches.

Local competition is having a real impact on wages and job offers are becoming increasingly competitive, counter offers and benefits packages are at the forefront of the employment market and the pace of recruitment is gaining momentum.

2015 is set to be a busy year; clients are having to adapt fast and are more reliant than ever on good professional advice to secure who they need for their business. Candidates have multiple choices to consider and need to control their applications and seek advice on the best long term employment opportunities from consultants who have a thorough understanding of their client’s culture and future growth.

For advice and guidance in this changing market please contact your local Howett Thorpe office.