Employer confidence rises, but skill shortage worries remain.

JobsOutlook latest.

New data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows that businesses have become more confident in their ability to hire new staff.

The REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey shows that employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions has increased by ten percentage points from the previous rolling quarter. It has returned to positive territory for the first time since October 2019 and sits at a net figure of +7.

Demand for permanent staff also remains high, both in the short and medium term, at net: +21 and net: +26 respectively. Businesses are looking to expand their workforce after months of uncertainty and delay.

However, half (49 per cent) of employers of permanent staff are already worried about finding enough candidates to fill their permanent vacancies. These worries are especially pronounced in sectors like health and social care and construction – industries where the government’s new immigration policy will have serious negative consequences for allowing labour into those sectors.

“Businesses across the country have grown more confident since the election,” said Tom Hadley, director of policy and campaigns at the REC.

“With more certainty about what lies ahead in the short term, many have taken the opportunity to start hiring again. Now that demand for staff is on the rise and the majority of employers have little or no spare capacity in their workforce, staff availability is the major challenge.

“As a result, last week’s immigration policy announcement has worried many employers,” Hadley added. “Sectors like healthcare, construction and logistics currently rely on workers from overseas, and are already facing labour shortages. Although the government might refer to these roles as ‘low-skilled’, they are highly important – not just for employers but also for patients, consumers and existing staff who are already overworked. We need a temporary work visa that allows businesses to hire the people they need at all skill levels and pay grades.”

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