New Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics released this morning show that vacancies are declining slowly, and have remained at a high level compared to previous years. The unemployment rate is higher than the same period last year. We are calling on the Government to provide greater intelligence on labour market needs and for greater collaboration between universities and businesses.

Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), said: “Even though the headline from new data published this morning reveals that vacancies are declining, they are declining slowly and remain historically high. What’s more, we are still grappling with persistent skills shortages. We are expecting skills shortages to get worse as demographic changes affect labour supply and as technology rapidly advances. The labour market is transforming at pace and the skills gaps will only become more and more acute. Our education providers are preparing people for jobs that may not yet exist, using techniques still unimaginable.”

Marshall concluded: “There are no quick fixes. The Government has a critical role in coordination and making sure that there is clear intelligence on labour market needs. Preparing for a completely transformed future labour market requires a suite of interventions with clearer coordination. NCUB has long called for improvements to intelligence and coordination. In 2024, we expect to see the first outputs of the new Department for Education Future Skills Unit, which we hope will provide much needed insight into future labour market needs. For this to work effectively, at its very heart, we will require collaboration between employers and educational institutions. This collaboration will be critical to aid long-term recovery.”