The Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s has warned of an ‘economic storm’ ahead as UK unemployment dropped to a near-50 year low, at the same time that wages also suffered a massive fall.
Quarter 1 jobs market data showed that, despite wages rising, real earnings dropped by the highest margin in nine years.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in the first three months of the year, which is the lowest since 1974. Between January and March, there were 1.257million people out of work.
The ONS also reported that growth in employees’ average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.0%, and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.2% in January to March 2022.
However, when adjusted for inflation, regular pay fell by 1.2%. The ONS said strong bonus payments in certain sectors have kept recent real total pay growth positive.
“Continued strong bonuses in some sectors such as construction and especially finance mean that total pay is continuing to grow faster than prices on average, but underlying regular earnings are now falling sharply in real terms,” the ONS said.
Employee Benefits & Cost of Living Crisis
Financial problems and their subsequent effect on personal life are the number one cause of pre-absenteeism and poor productivity at the workplace. The cost-of-living crisis has brought continued wage pressures to bear, particularly upon lower-paid employees.
The challenge for UK businesses is how to keep staff motivated without paying more thus pushing up wages and sacrificing their competitive edge.
Employee Benefits are a great way for businesses to assist their employees through the current turbulence in the economy.
From discounted grocery shopping (equivalent to two free weeks of food shopping) to confidential employee assistance programs to support wellness initiatives.
The support we have received from My Staff Shop has been excellent, both during launch and ongoing. Anything raised is quickly and efficiently dealt with. Throughout, my account manager has always been available and has been a fantastic support.
Processes have been clear, training has been provided, and support with communications has been great. My Staff Shop ran specific webinars for the discount platform to support the launch and also for budget holders for the Reward & Recognition platform. The result has seen 66% of employees sign into the platform so far.