We all know that the British economy is going through something of a troubled time right now. Unemployment is on the rise, growth prospects are shaky and youth unemployment is a particular concern, with more than 1 million youngsters currently classed as ‘NEET’ (not in education, employment or training).

This is a cause for concern, particularly as a recent survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) found that 31% of private sector firms plan to make cuts to jobs during the current quarter. This is likely to result in the unemployment queues swelling further and, when you add in the public sector redundancies that are currently taking place too, it all adds up to a difficult picture.

But how does this affect job seekers? In many ways, it is easy to see how they are affected by redundancies due to business cut backs and slow industry growth. There are more people chasing after the jobs that are out there, meaning that competition can be fierce, particularly for the very best jobs or in very competitive industries. Another worry is the north-south divide: the CIPD study found that job prospects in the south are much better than they are in the north.

We also have to take into account issues such as London School of Economics suggests that the fees increase could result in 7.5% fewer men going to university and 5% fewer women.

This all has an impact on the jobs market, adding to the number of young people looking for jobs. When you consider that there are also more graduates than ever before chasing after jobs, it puts even more pressure on the system. There are other options for them to consider, such as apprenticeships, but we have yet to see whether the challenge will be met.

There are also recruitment challenges involved in all of this: some recruiters are finding it harder to get work themselves as businesses look to cut costs and take recruitment processes back in house. Others are overwhelmed with candidates for vacancies, which in some ways can be seen as a positive thing as it provides more choice, but it can also make it harder to place increasing numbers of unemployed people in jobs.

Overall, even though there are still some excellent employment and training opportunities out there, it seems as though the challenging conditions for job seekers and recruiters alike are set to continue for some time yet.

Related: Salary Trends for UK Start-Up and Tech Jobs (Infographic).

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