The Tightening of Labour Markets, Increase of National Minimal Wage, and High Interest Rates: What This Means for Recruitment

Logistics Made Easy lmerecruitment | 11th Oct 2023

October 1st–4th, 2023, saw the Autumn CPC 2023, the Conservative Party Conference. The four-day event, which consists of speeches, receptions, and fringe events, gives Party members, the press, and the public a chance to learn about the ideas, policies, and direction Conservatives intend to pursue in the coming year.

Now, most political party conferences are typically abuzz with ideas, with MPs, lobbyists, and researchers all floating their policy proposals to a raptured audience aligned with their political philosophies. And CPC 2023 was no different.

This annual autumn conference had five key themes, essentially an insight into the building blocks of the Tory manifesto. What to expect when the next election is called sometime before January 2025. The five key themes are: tax cuts, immigration, AI regulation, green belt housing, and the HS2 high-speed rail from Birmingham to Manchester.

Nothing directly about the cost-of-living crisis. The tightening of labour markets. The national minimum wage. Interest rates.

But that doesn’t mean that these issues haven’t been addressed. The CPC 2023 has acknowledged the cost-of-living crisis and shared their vision for helping to steer the UK throughout this period of economic uncertainty. And recruitment is a large part of this.

So, what does this mean for people day-to-day? And, more importantly, what does it mean for their future security, economic prospects, and career opportunities?

Let’s take a look at each of these factors in turn, highlighting what they mean for recruitment and career opportunities.

The Tightening of Labour Markets

Turbulent economic conditions can have a big impact on recruitment. And the UK has been experiencing what is categorised as a “tight labour market,” arguably since the post-pandemic

In a tight labour market, employer demand is high, but available candidates are more difficult to come by. This gives employees bargaining power to ask for better working conditions. Fierce competition for skills, wage demands, and candidates’ expectations can leave businesses with roles that they just can’t fill.

However, there is a solution to this problem: for the government to create conditions for employers to invest in staff training and development. But that’s not all.

Recruiters can play a significant role in helping businesses thrive in a tight labour market by finding that candidate who stands out from the crowd and is the perfect fit for your logistics and shipping business.

This is what LME specialises in. Getting the right candidate for the right job

How do we find the best candidates? Well, we employ strategies that get results. But, generally speaking, it all boils down to our precise understanding of what our client needs in order to thrive, whilst cultivating a broad candidate pool that’s also rich in niche expertise, experience, and skill sets.

This allows us to offer something that few other recruiters can. We’re not interested in filling roles; we’re interested in finding the right candidates for the right roles and in building relationships—something that we have proven by being chosen as the sole recruiter to Port One Logistics Park.

The National Living Wage

Reduced absenteeism, better quality of work, and reduced contractor turnover rates are just three of the benefits the National Living Wage has had on the workplace. And when people are happy in the workplace, they thrive. These candidates drive business productivity, provided that a recruiter like LME, identifies the perfect candidates for the right operators in the logistics and shipping sectors.

As announced by Jeremy Hunt during his speech, the National Living Wage has “lifted nearly 2 million people from absolute poverty after housing costs.” He continued by saying that this has “boosted salaries”, cut taxes, and made work “pay.” Currently, the national living wage is £10.42 an hour. Mr. Hunt confirmed that this will increase to at least £11.00 per hour in 2024, an increase of an annual £9,000 compared to 2010.

This sounds like a step in the right direction. A commitment to helping people hardest hit by inflation, boosting their income. Helping them to ease any financial pressure they may experience. But only if the sector is secure and prosperous despite the economic pressures. If not, people could still find themselves job-hopping as their industry struggles against the relentless economic tidal waves.

Basically, anyone wanting to insulate themselves against economic uncertainty should not only be concerned with their rate of pay but also with how healthy and resilient their industry is against economic pressure and recession.

And the shipping and logistics sector has proven to be well anchored, despite economic and inflationary pressures. Compared with many other sectors, opportunities are plentiful. Both for candidates looking to take their first steps into the sector or who are climbing the ladder.

Interest Rates

So, we come to interest rates. Now, much has been made of the cost of living and inflation. September saw the Bank of England hold interest rates at 5.25%. This comes after 14 consecutive rises stretching back to December 2021, when interest rates stood at 0.1%.

This followed broadly positive news from the Office of National Statistics in August that inflation continued to fall, reaching 6.7% in August, a drop of 1.2% from June.

Higher than normal interest rates essentially mean that businesses may feel the pinch. It’ll cost more money to borrow money; therefore, business loans will be higher. Employers may also feel the pressure to offer more competitive salaries to appeal to top-tier candidates.

The recruitment industry may be marginally affected. Employers may approach recruitment with greater caution, knowing their operating costs have increased. This factor is particularly important to businesses with reduced production.

However, many shrewd businesses had the foresight to consider higher interest rates some time ago and have already “course corrected” their growth plans and economic strategies, e.g., by offering better pay and enticements, like salary increase strategies, to appeal to and retain high-quality candidates. Obviously, this is dependent on the industry and its performance.

What’s clear is that the logistics and shipping sector is one of the top-performing industries in the UK. One that has bountiful opportunities for people at all stages of their working career.

Whether candidates are getting their foot on, or steadily climbing, the career ladder or are looking to find better opportunities using the transferrable skills from one sector to another, the logistics and shipping sector is ideally positioned to prosper in the coming year and beyond, offering recognition and career opportunities that other sectors simply cannot.

All this means that if candidates wish to insulate themselves from looming high interest rates, the logistics and shipping sector is the right choice for them.

What should be focused on is that the UK’s logistics and shipping sectors remain resilient in the face of economic uncertainty. This means opportunities abound for a wide range of skilled and unskilled professionals looking to secure their careers in a blossoming industry.

And there are few better recruiters to help you achieve this than LME.



Straight from the Bird’s mouth