Employers remain pessimistic about the longer-term economic outlook, REC finds
New data shows that employers’ confidence in the prospects for the UK economy remained negative for the fourth successive month, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest JobsOutlook report. The net balance of those seeing a positive outlook as opposed to a negative one hit -11, an improvement from the previous month (October 2018) of 3 percentage points from -14.
Despite the ongoing negativity towards the prospects for the economy, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions in their own businesses remained in positive territory with a net balance of +16, a rise of 1 percentage point from the previous month.
48% of UK employers who hire permanent staff expressed their concern this quarter over the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent jobs, up from 42% a year earlier, with anticipated shortages of health and social care workers causing most anxiety for employers for a second successive month. Engineering & technical, and hospitality workers, were again this month the other two professions where employers expect severest skills shortages.
53% of employers intending to hire temporary workers expressed concerns over the sufficient number of agency workers with the necessary skills they require, up from 46% the previous month, and up from 40% this time last year. Employers are expecting the most severe skills shortages among drivers, followed by industrial and the marketing, media & creative sectors.
The net balance of employers intending to hire agency staff in the short-term rose by 3 percentage points compared to the previous month (October 2018), to a net balance of +19.
The net balance of those intending to hire temporary agency workers remained buoyant in the medium-term, rising to 16 percentage points, a rise of 2 percentage points from the previous month (October 2018).
Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, said, “Today’s survey shows British businesses at their pragmatic best. Employers remain pessimistic about the longer-term economic outlook - but they are ready to invest in their own businesses to meet demand. Securing the Brexit transition period and a sensible approach to EU immigration to help deal with labour shortages will help to calm those economic fears. A deal will make sure that employers’ confidence in their own business wins out.
“The shortages in health and social care sectors is major concern for the NHS with winter approaching. Government policy needs to support health commissioners to flexibly manage staffing needs. Without access to agency workers key front line services could be put under threat.”
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