Britain has witnessed a remarkable period of high employment, with the number of people in work at its highest since the 1970s.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the unemployment holding steady at 3.8%, its lowest rate on record.
Wages have also increased at their fastest rate in more than a decade, data published on Tuesday shows.
But the reality of Britain’s labour market is a lot less rosy and a lot more complex than some of the headline figures suggest.
Half the new jobs are in self-employed, insecure work
Half of the past year’s employment growth has been in self-employment, which is typically far more insecure and often less well-paid than staff roles, according to the Resolution Foundation.
“One of the big changes in the job market over the past year has been the return of growing self-employment. The number of self-employed workers has increased by 167,000,” the think tank said.
It is part of a growing trend over the past decade, with increased numbers of young people employed in the gig economy and rising numbers of over-65s continuing to work on a freelance basis.