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12 Months of 2023: December

As we reach the end of the year, our 12 days of Christmas countdown revisits the key events of each month -

In December, vacancies continued to fall, geopolitical risk was named as the fastest growing danger to business and Spotify made mass redundancies.

Vacancies fall as wage growth eases

Vacancies continued to fall as pay growth began to level out, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

From September to November, the estimated number of UK job vacancies fell by 45,000, to 949,000 vacancies. 

Annual growth in regular pay excluding bonuses was 7.3% in August to October 2023. This growth continues to remain strong but is not as high as in recent periods.

When adjusted for inflation, pay rose by 1.4% between August and October.

The UK employment (75.7%) and unemployment (4.2%) rates were largely unchanged since the previous quarter.

The economic inactivity rate was largely unchanged since the previous quarter at 20.9%.


Geopolitical risk named fastest growing danger to businesses

Geopolitical threats now represent the fastest-growing risk to the security and resilience of businesses, according to a report from corporate security consultancy The Clarity Factory.

Rachel Briggs, CEO of The Clarity Factory, said businesses are dealing with multiple geopolitical crises this year.

She said: “Companies are grappling with heightened tensions in the Middle East, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s influence in its near neighbourhood as well as Africa and the Middle East.  

“With the highest levels of political risk and unrest for five years, business leaders face effects on everything from supply chains and operational resilience to personnel security and new market entry.”

Business leaders ranked cybersecurity (53%) as the top threat, followed by geopolitical risk (51%) and insider risk (40%).


Spotify layoffs consequence of over-hiring epidemic, say experts

Spotify’s mass redundancies are the consequence of an over-hiring epidemic which became commonplace in the tech sector following covid, according to HR and technology experts.

In an email from CEO Daniel Ek, the music streaming giant announced it planned to slash 15,000 jobs, 17% of its workforce.

Idris Arshad, people and inclusion partner at St Christopher’s, said Spotify prioritised profitability rather than sustainable hiring.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “I think [Spotify was] irresponsible in their hiring, planning and strategy. When it comes to growth, we need to grow responsibly and sustainably. That is where it goes wrong – growth for the sake of profits and not people.

“When you look at their profit levels it further assures you that they seem to not care about people, and that they could have avoided redundancies very easily by just taking a hit on their profits.”


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