The health of the broader UK economy is as much of a concern to those overseeing science recruitment campaigns as it is those in any other sector.

Thankfully, candidates hoping to land lucrative science jobs, as well as organisations seeking to match the right talent to their vacancies, will be heartened to read Britain's latest unemployment figures.

An encouraging last quarter

On the eve of Chancellor George Osborne's latest Budget, it was revealed that UK unemployment fell to 1.68 million between November and January 2016, a 28,000 drop from the previous quarter. It meant that the UK unemployment rate remained static at a decade-low 5.1%.

Among those to respond warmly to the news was UK economist at Capital Economics, Scott Bowman, who described the latest labour market figures as offering "a ray of sunshine" amid "global 'storm clouds'".

Potential applicants for science jobs in the East and North East regions of England may have reason to feel especially warmed by the figures, given the 15,000 decline in the number of unemployed people in the first of those regions and the 11,000 fall recorded for the latter.  

National Living Wage should do little to harm the statistics

We hadn't seen an all-Conservative Budget for more than 18 years when George Osborne delivered the new Government's first spending plan last July, its most eye-catching announcement the introduction of a new compulsory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for working people aged 25 and over.

With the National Living Wage having only been introduced this month, it's a little early to make an accurate assessment of its impact on unemployment, although the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimated that UK business should be more than capable of accommodating the additional expense.

Although the OBR forecast the direct loss of 60,000 jobs by 2020 as a consequence of the change, it added that almost one million other jobs would have been created by then to compensate. Many of them, we suspect, will be the chemistry, pharmacology, immunology and clinical roles that science recruitment agencies like Hyper Recruitment Solutions will be inevitably looking to fill in the months and years ahead.

Benefits continue to plummet

However, while low-paid workers were given an unexpectedly pleasant surprise in last summer's Budget in the form of the National Living Wage, some of them were also hit by tax credits now being limited to the first two children for new claims. Meanwhile, those aged between 18 and 21 were to be denied housing benefit altogether.

 As TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady pointed out, young people were particular losers in the first fully Conservative Budget of the 21st century, declaring that "it was all bad news as they will not get the minimum-wage boost and will suffer from cuts to higher education grants and housing benefit."

These will all be worries pressing on the minds of younger graduates seeking their first science jobs this year. However, contrary to O'Grady's verdict, there was some good news for them in the form of a lower unemployment rate among 16 to 24 year olds - 13.7% between November and January 2016, compared to the 16.2% recorded a year earlier.

Are you eager to find the perfect new science role for you in 2016, or could your organisation do with some assistance in filling its latest quality assurance, R&D and/or clinical research vacancies? Either way, simply get in touch with the science recruitment professionals at Hyper Recruitment Solutions today for the most appropriately tailored support. 

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