An impressive 32.9 million people were in employment in the three months leading to November 2019, meaning that unemployment fell to the lowest level since 1974.
The Office of National Statistics also identified that a record number of women are now in full time work, and it is this trend that has had a significant impact upon the unemployment figures. In the three months leading up to November 2019 126,000 more women had full time employment when compared to the previous quarter.
It is believed that a number of factors are in play in terms of this increase in working women, one being the continued drop in women who take early retirement. This is coupled with the health of the nations aged population generally improving, meaning that those who wish to continue to work longer are able to do so.
Additionally, the number of stay at home mums is dropping, possibly due to improvements in technology enabling agile working to take place more easily. It is no longer necessary for employees to physically attend work all day, every day, and it is now much more acceptable to work office hours around child care and the school run.
The introduction of share parental leave has also gone some way to reduce the stigma faced by women in the workplace, as it is no longer taken as a given that females will spend lengthy periods away from work on maternity leave. Increasingly, men are deciding to take on the lion’s share of the child care and are taking extended time off for parental leave.
Whatever the reason for this increase in full time female employees, this is a welcome development which will hopefully seek to redress the gender imbalance that appears in many workplaces.
A record number of women in full-time work has pushed the UK's employment rate to a new high of 76.3%, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.