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Employers increase hiring and begin lifting recruitment freezes in Q4 of 2010
Report shows employers are less fearful of the VAT rise and cuts in public expenditure than in Q3
The UK jobs market is showing signs of a recovery as medium and large organisations increase hiring by 10% and begin lifting recruitment freezes, according to the latest quarterly Barclay Meade Tracking UK Recruitment report.
Despite the Governments continued austerity drive and the VAT hike, the number of businesses recruiting at similar levels to before the recession has risen to nearly half (47%) in Q4. Furthermore, the number of firms operating under a recruitment freeze has fallen from 30% in Q3 to 24% in the final quarter of 2010.
The report, by professional staffing recruitment consultancy Barclay Meade - part of the AIM-listed recruitment business Matchtech Group PLC is the second quarterly tracker which provides insight into the effects of the current economic climate on the recruitment strategies of medium and large organisations in the UK. The report reveals recruitment is on the up as fears over public sector cuts and the effects of a VAT hike diminish, but with economic uncertainty remaining hopes of a full recovery are on hold.
For the report, Barclay Meade interviewed managers and owners about their current recruitment plans and the landscape of their future workforce. The study revealed:
Nearly two thirds of employers (63%) are cautiously optimistic about 2011, while 16% are very optimistic
Of those who are not looking to recruit, 69% said this was not due to poor business performance or financial limitations, they simply had no need
Nine per cent of employers are recruiting at above pre-recession levels, the same as in Q3 and nearly a quarter (20%) are recruiting at below pre-recession levels, down from 23% in Q3
One fifth (20%) feel the cuts in public expenditure will have the biggest negative impact on recruitment in the next 12 months and a further 20% believe it will be the VAT hike
Over a quarter (27%) of respondents blamed a perceived candidate skill shortage as a barrier to recruitment, a possible explanation for almost half (43%) of employers being frustrated by candidates appearing better on paper than in practice
The findings of the tracker are supported by the most recent Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs which revealed jobs growth maintained at solid pace in December 2010. Permanent staff vacancies increased at the sharpest rate in four months, while growth of temp vacancies accelerated to a six-month high. The figures suggest the UK jobs market is on the road to recovery, with the private sector performing well and managing to counterbalance the jobs losses in the public sector. However, with further public sector cuts due to hit, the VAT rise and slowing economic growth, many challenges lay ahead.
Barclay Meade managing director Nigel Lynn says: The latest Tracking UK Recruitment report indicates that employers may be moving on from the stagnation experienced in the third quarter of 2010 in to a period of re-balancing and gradual growth. The public sector cuts and the VAT hike continued to have a negative impact on recruitment strategies over the last three months, but the degree to which this is felt has lessened slightly, suggesting a returning level of confidence among employers.
However, the fragility of the UK economy is highlighted by the surprise 0.5% contraction in GDP and, while economists remain unsure of whether we are heading to a recovery or into a double dip recession, employers will also remain uncertain.
What we do know is that recruitment strategies will need to be implemented effectively to attract the best candidates to maximise the potential of a business over the coming year.
In 2011, people development and organisational restructuring will be at the heart of business activity and the recruitment industry should deliver the message of experts recruiting experts to optimise business potential and drive the UK out of a post-recession climate.
Barclay Meade is one of the UKs leading professional staffing recruitment agencies, specialising in accountancy, financial services, human resources, procurement, supply chain and logistics, sales, marketing and communications and executive search.
With offices in London, Southampton, Basingstoke, St Albans and Aberdeen, Barclay Meade specialises in providing sector expertise and knowledge in interim, temporary, contract, permanent and executive recruitment. 


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