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Employer confidence elusive ahead of public sector cuts

Employer confidence elusive ahead of public sector cuts, REC JobsOutlook shows
Ahead of the latest unemployment figures out tomorrow (Wednesday), the RECs September JobsOutlook which is published later this week, has shown increasing caution being exercised by employers on their hiring intentions until the end of the year.
The surveys Jobs Barometer, which tracks employer confidence, has fallen to a six month low as unease and uncertainty about the impact of public sector cuts continues to cast a shadow over the jobs market. This in turn has started to dampen expectations in possible jobs growth into 2011.
Ninety five per cent of employers say they anticipate their permanent workforce will either grown or remain in the same in the next three months a drop of four points on last month, while their expectations in the increased or current levels of use of temporary workers has gone down one point.
However, JobsOutlook, the only monthly monitor of employers recruiting intentions, shows long term plans for their use of temporary workers has fallen a significant six points with 76 per cent saying they will take on more or keep their levels the same. For permanent staff hire over the next 12 months, 92 per cent plan to either to increase their headcount or keep it static, a change of three points from last month.
Commenting on the JobsOutlook findings, Roger Tweedy, the REC's Director of Research, said: The results again show how elusive confidence is among employers, though the findings also show a resurgence of consumer confidence, according to the latest NOP data.
One other encouraging trend is the continue upswing in the number of temporary workers which Labour Market Statistics show have now exceeded 1.5 million for the first time. This again demonstrates the importance which employers put on having a flexible workforce to undertake essential tasks, especially frontline public sector roles.
Roger Tweedy added:
Another indication of how cautious employers are remaining is in the increase in headcount freezes which have gone up to 37 per cent from 30 per cent. This measure is being used ahead of making redundancies or introducing reduced pay or working hours.
Employers also responded on what impact significant spending cuts would have on their businesses with 36 per cent in both public and private sector saying they do not know. Another 29 per cent in the private sector said it would have little effect but 23 per cent of public sector employers expect it to result in a quite serious impact. Only three per cent in the private sector and seven per cent in the public sector believe it will have a very serious bearing on their organisations.


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