I’d like to wish everyone who has worked with/for One Step in 2017 a very Happy New Year. The work we all do has a huge impact on our lives; here at One Step we will never lose sight of this.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you my reflections on the last 12 months and to put these in to a wider perspective with some employment facts from 2017.

In the UK in the twelve months ending March 2017, recruiters placed nearly 1m applicants into a new permanent job. In the same period, on any given day there are 1.3m temporary workers placed by recruiters in the labour market, offering convenience to workers who want flexible work and short-term labour to employers who require it.

Here in Somerset there are over 21,000 businesses spread across the county. How do we compare with the rest of the country? Well, we exceed the national average in numbers of ‘micro businesses’ with ¾ employing less than 5 people, but we fall 12% lower than the national average when it comes to gross annual pay.

A key challenge facing many workforces is the uncertainty on how the UK will leave the EU in 2019. This is being heavily felt by the health, agriculture and hospitality industries, as a high proportion of EU labour cannot be fully replaced by UK workers. With reduced net migration (ie more EU workers leaving the UK than choosing to work here), it’s harder for employers to secure the staffing numbers they require, which has a massive impact on their growth potential. A good Brexit deal has the ability to improve productivity, support job creation and boost pay growth.

For workers, whilst inflation continues to outstrip pay growth, relaxations in the public sector pay cap may give way to wage increases for some. The South West is one of the strongest regions in terms of employment rates at 77.6%; whilst it is great that so many are working, the flip side is that employers are struggling to attract the talent they need. This only highlights the value of the service that One Step Recruitment provides.

One Step are proud members of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, who continue to lobby for the best outcomes for Somerset. We agree with the Chamber Chief Executive in recognising significant opportunities in our county for nuclear, food & drink, marine, health & care, aerospace and advanced engineering industries. One Step recruit in all these sectors.

One Step will continue to do as much as we can in 2018 to help you achieve your work goals and businesses to achieve your dream teams. Here’s to a prosperous New Year!

Sources: Somerset Chamber of Commerce, ONS regional labour market stats August-October 2017, REC Recruitment Industry Trends report and REC Recruiter.