Slowly Improving

Business confidence in hiring is growing

While employers’ confidence in the UK economy remains at a joint record low, employers are starting to feel a little more confident about their ability to hire new staff and invest in their own businesses, according to the latest survey from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

The latest JobsOutlook report, which surveyed employers between 4 and 14 May, found that business confidence in hiring and investment decisions improved by 11 percentage points compared to early April. However, confidence levels remained negative overall at net: -10.

Short-term demand for permanent staff also improved, rising from net: -9 in April to net: -5 in May. These could indicate that the labour market is starting to open up again, following announcements in May that lockdown measures would be gradually eased across the four nations of the UK. The REC’s Jobs Recovery Tracker also shows that demand for some occupations, such as cleaners, security guards and artists, has risen in recent weeks.

And with medium-term demand for both permanent staff and agency workers still sitting in positive territory at net: +6, it’s clear that there is demand for jobs that is ready to be unlocked alongside the lockdown.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“Coronavirus has caused a huge slowdown in the labour market, but this data indicates that the worst could be behind us. More workplaces are now starting to re-open all over the country. While we must ensure that employee safety is the top priority, hiring will pick up again alongside the economy. And while demand is still strongest in the health and care sector right now, we are likely to see positive signs for other roles in the near future.

“Recruiters will be at the forefront of this recovery, working in close collaboration with employers and the government to get people back into work where they are needed most. Our sector will have a particularly big job to do in helping candidates change sectors and roles as the economy builds back in a different shape.”

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