Press Release

Jobs in London at record high as economic change and uncertainty persist

New analysis from Centre for London has found that London’s economy is continuing to grow, despite Brexit uncertainty, a continuing fall in EU workers coming to the capital and changes to employment.

Read the analysis

The analysis, published on the morning of The London Conference – a major conference discussing the future of work in the capital featuring Sadiq Khan as a keynote speaker – found that:

  • Job numbers continued to increase to a new record high of 5.92 million at the end of June 2018, an increase of 1.5 per cent on a year previously. Growth outstripped the rest of the UK, where job numbers grew by just 0.5 per cent over the year.
  • Just 4.7 per cent of the 16-64 aged population were unemployed in July 2018, down from 5.2 per cent the year previously, and the lowest rate for more than 25 years.

But despite these positive trends, the analysis also highlights how the world of work in London is evolving:

  • National Insurance Number registrations by foreign nationals coming to London for work continued to fall, with 32,500 registrations in Q2 2018, 22 per cent fewer than in the same period last year, and less than half of their 2014 peak.
  • London has seen a marked increase in the number of self-employed Londoners – an increase of 5 per cent in the year to June 2018 (to a total of 820,000, or 14 per cent of all jobs), while employee jobs increased by 1 per cent over the same period.
  • Meanwhile, take-up of higher apprenticeships has continued to grow, driven by a surge (79 per cent) in the number of those aged 25 and over starting a new qualification.
  • Previous Centre for London research found that almost a third of London’s jobs have high potential for automation. The impact is likely to be highest for low- and medium-skilled workers, particularly in sectors such as wholesale and retail, transportation and storage, and accommodation and food.

Richard Brown, Research Director at Centre for London said:

“London has an extraordinary history of economic resilience and is well placed to ride the wave of disruption that rapid technological change and Brexit might unleash.

“The continuing growth in London’s labour market is good news – the rate of job growth has been faster in the ten years since the 2008 crash than in the ten years leading up to it – but London’s workers have been struggling with stagnating wages, as the cost of living in the capital has soared.

“Technological change offers opportunities to boost productivity and wages, but further challenge public policy; lower skilled workers undertaking routine tasks could see their jobs disappear, and some may struggle to develop the skills needed for new roles.

“Government, schools, colleges and employers need to work together to ensure that skills, regulatory and welfare policies strengthen London’s human capital and enhance both fairness and prosperity.”

Cllr Lib Peck, Deputy Chair of London Councils, said:

“Local public services are essential to the resilience of our city. Without them we would not have high quality social care for vulnerable adults and children, clean streets or good schools.

“That is why London needs investment in its soft infrastructure to ensure that Londoners gain the right skills to succeed in the jobs market and London’s businesses are able to grow.

“Since 2010, London’s boroughs alone have seen a 63% cut to core funding. This needs to change if we are to help Londoners and London’s businesses work towards a more prosperous future.”

The analysis was released to coincide with The London Conference, Centre for London’s flagship event which is take place on Wednesday 7 November at the Congress Centre in central London.

This year The London Conference is rethinking the way London operates for new times, discussing the changing economy, social mobility, fair work, education and automation.

Speakers include:

  • Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
  • Lib Peck, Leader, Lambeth Council and Deputy Chair, London Councils
  • Nickie Aiken, Leader, Westminster City Council
  • Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, ITV


Notes to Editors

  • Centre for London is the capital’s dedicated think tank.
  • This data is taken from The London Intelligence, Centre for London’s quarterly review of demographic, housing, transport, economic and quality of life data.

Data Sources:

  • Job numbers, unemployment, pay data and mid-year population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.
  • National Insurance Number registration data are a 100 per cent extract of the volume of adult non-UK nationals registering within the UK for a National Insurance Number. Figures are based on when the person registers on the HRMC Recording and PAYE system, which may be some time after they entered the UK.
  • Apprenticeship data from Department of Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency.