The Conservatives are spending this election campaign celebrating record employment. The Labour Party is spending it deriding the UK’s lousy pay performance, and high levels of insecure work.
These contrasting pictures are both true: we have a very tight labour market, but the issue of job quality remains. Our flexible labour market has enabled the recent jobs boom — and shouldn’t be undermined — but the question we need to ask now is how we can use the backdrop of a tight employment market to improve job quality.
So where might we look for answers to the UK’s job quality issues? First, don’t take a tight labour market for granted. This is how we’ve managed to return pay growth back to near pre-crisis norms, despite our ongoing