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Bosses Provide Hope For Improved Outlook in 2012

Bosses Provide Hope For Improved Outlook in 2012

More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of business services firms are currently recruiting at similar levels to those before the economic downturn in 2007, according to the latest quarterly & lsquo;Tracking UK Recruitment’ report by professional staffing consultancy Barclay Meade.

Almost a quarter (21 per cent) of businesses in the sector say they are more confident about recruiting compared to last quarter, while only eight per cent are less confident. Furthermore, just one in 10 (11 per cent) are implementing a recruitment freeze, down from 17 per cent in the final three months of 2011.

The report by Barclay Meade – part of the AIM-listed recruitment business Matchtech Group PLC – also found 69 per cent of the sector’s owners and managers’ recruitment activity was linked directly to their company’s business growth plans, with almost nine out of 10 (87 per cent) expecting to take on new staff in the next quarter.

Interestingly, social media was found to be an increasingly prevalent method for attracting new talent, with more than four in 10 (43 per cent) – the highest figure of any industry sector – indicating they have already benefitted from it.

However, the costs associated with taking on new staff and a shortage of applicants who possess the necessary skills are the biggest barriers to recruitment for almost half of the UK’s medium and large-sized business services firms.

With the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimating the average cost to a business of filling a senior managerial vacancy to be &pound7,500 and &pound2,500 for other employees[1], Barclay Meade’s report reveals nearly half (48 per cent) of managers from the sector feel the expense of hiring new staff is prohibitively high, a quarter-on-quarter rise of 28-per-cent.

Meanwhile, Barclay Meade’s report reveals 43 per cent of business services company bosses are increasingly frustrated by the lack of appropriately skilled staff, while a fifth cite time constraints as their main recruitment headache.

Among these, over half (54 per cent) plan to take on administrative staff, with slightly fewer (49 per cent) aiming to recruit graduates. However, the report revealed a fall in the number of companies which anticipate making board and senior manager-level appointments.

Barclay Meade’s & lsquo;Tracking UK Recruitment’ 2012 Q1 report also revealed:

•              Two-thirds of businesses in the financial services and distribution sectors feel restricted by the Government’s employment legislation and would like to see changes made to help encourage recruitment

•              More than half (55 per cent) of manufacturers believe the fallout from the eurozone could restrict their hiring activity in the future

•              The general consensus among the UK business community is that the outlook is hopeful, with two-thirds (65 per cent) of firms declaring themselves & lsquo;cautiously optimistic’ about trading conditions for the next six months

•              Just five per cent of firms in the North West rule out bringing in new staff in the three months to June

Nigel Lynn, managing director of Barclay Meade, says: “It is disappointing that managers of business services firms are concerned about the cost of taking on new staff. The findings from the CIPD’s report highlight just how important it is to make the right appointment during the current economic climate, and it’s interesting to see more companies from the sector are benefitting from the less expensive social media route as a means of attracting new talent.

“An apparent dearth of adequately skilled staff across the sector is also a huge concern. Investing in talent can improve the commercial value of any organisation, but this is obviously dependent on that talent being available in the first place.

“The Office for National Statistics’ announcement that GDP fell by 0.2 per cent in the first three months of 2012 highlights how the economy is still struggling to gain momentum. This is obviously impacting on the hiring activity of business services firms, who, like all of us, remain hopeful that a significant upturn in the economy is just round the corner. Whether this happens is dependent on the Government’s ability to stimulate business growth long-term.”


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