18 Dec 2013

Job figures: 250, 000 new British jobs but what are they?

According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, Britain is almost half a million new jobs up on last year. But what is everybody doing?

Some 485,000 more people have jobs in the UK this year compared to last year says the ONS. It brings the total number of employed Britons to a record high of 30.1m – some 59 per cent of the adult population, with a further four per cent self-employed. Good news – but what are these new jobs in?

Who’s hiring and who’s firing?

The trends seem positive – the figures show growth in two areas – at the top in professional and managerial jobs and in lower-paid service jobs such as hairdressers. On the negative side – over a 100,000 jobs have been lost in sales and customer services since last year.

We don’t have direct information on the 485,000 jobs that Britain has gained since last year – that data is for August – October 2013, and the latest breakdown of employment for different occupations is for July-September 2013. But we can see which sectors are hiring and which are firing.

Out of nine broad categories there are big jumps in two areas – “personal services” and “professional services” – both of which saw employment increases of over five per cent.

Personal services – which includes nurses, child-minders, hairdressers, people employed in the leisure and travel industry and undertakers – has seen biggest increase since last year.

Employment in that field has risen 5.4 per cent, an increase of 138,000 people. It means that 2.72m were employed in those jobs in 2013, an increase from 2.58m in 2012.

Professional occupations – which includes scientists, engineers, doctors, teachers, civil servants and architects – has also seen a big increase: rising 5.1 per cent in the last year.

Some 4.2m were employed as professionals by September 2013, a jump of 201,000 on the 2012 figure of 3.9 m.

The biggest employment category is managers and senior officials. That includes managers in sectors from finance to health to property to HR. It has added 57,000 jobs, a 1.2 per cent increase.

Jobs lost in sales

Occupations that fallen back include sales and customer service jobs. 119,000 jobs have been lost in that sector, a fall of 5.3 per cent leaving only 2.1m employed in jobs such as shop assistants and call-centre work.

There was a slight increase in skilled trade – up 1.2 per cent. And a very minor increase in manufacturing jobs – up 0.3 per cent. The number of unemployed Britons sits at 2.39m, 7.4 percent of the population. 36.3 per cent of adults are classed as economically inactive.