Data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has shown that employers’ confidence, both in the UK economy and in their own businesses’ ability to hire and invest, has started to improve since the extension to the Brexit deadline.
The latest JobsOutlook shows that employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions increased by 4 percentage points from the previous rolling quarter, returning to positive territory at net: +1. Confidence in the UK economy also improved, rising by 3 percentage points to net: -26.
Hiring intentions for temporary agency workers continued to rise rolling quarter-on-quarter, with the balance of forecast demand increasing from net: +2 to net: +4 in the short-term, and from net: +4 to net: +5 in the medium-term.
“The strength of our jobs market is one of the biggest assets the UK has, as it keeps people in work and raises their pay,” said Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC. “Ensuring we protect the flexibility and opportunity it offers should be at the heart of any new government’s agenda.
“Today’s survey shows that businesses believe in their own prospects and are ready to grow if the pall of economic uncertainty is removed,” he continued. “The contrast between employers’ view of their own prospects and their view of the wider economic picture remains stark, however. Resolving this will require cool heads through the summer and autumn, so that companies can rely on a smooth and stable new relationship with the EU – not the chaos of a no deal exit.
As Carberry notes, JobsOutlook is certainly showing how concerned employers are about skills shortages and recruiters are helping with this. In all, 92 per cent of hirers say knowledge and expertise is key to choosing a partner who can help them navigate uncertain times.
Other statistics highlighted in this month’s JobsOutlook include:
· Hiring intentions for permanent staff remained strongly positive at net: +16 in the short-term and net: +18 in the medium-term. These are similar levels both to the previous month and the same period last year.
· 43 per cent of employers expressed concern over the sufficient availability of appropriate candidates for permanent positions this quarter. The three sectors causing most concern were Health & Social Care, Hospitality and Engineering & Technical. These areas have a legacy of high dependency on non-UK nationals.
· Four in five employers (78 per cent) reported having little or no surplus capacity in their workforce this quarter. This included 37 per cent reporting having no extra capacity at all.
· Nine in ten (92 per cent) employers that use recruitment agencies highlighted the importance of an agency’s geographical and/or sectoral expertise when it came to choosing a partner agency – up from 71 per cent last year.
· Despite concern over candidate shortages and persistent skills gaps, three quarters (74 per cent) of employers who use recruitment agencies reported being satisfied with their agency partners this quarter.