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Falling business confidence frustrates employers’ hiring plans

New data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows that employers’ hiring intentions have remained positive despite the recent uncertainty.

The REC’s latest JobsOutlook report, which covers June-August 2019, shows that demand for permanent employees in the short term rose by five percentage points to a net figure of +21, compared to March-May 2019. Medium-term demand also increased over the same period, rising by 7 percentage points to net: +25.

However, with employers’ confidence in the UK economy falling by four percentage points to net: -30 this quarter, these ambitious hiring plans could be hampered by the uncertainty over Brexit.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said, “Today’s figures emphasise why businesses are so frustrated at the lack of a smooth and stable resolution of the Brexit debate. There is growth to pursue and there are jobs to create – businesses believe in themselves and are ready to go. But the unstable economic outlook continues to put a dampener on their ambitions.

“Attracting workers to the UK to fill critical shortages and making sure they feel welcome, speeding investment decisions that create jobs, and investing in skills development for all workers are critical to our future success. It’s time to get back onto this agenda.”

Other key points from the latest JobsOutlook include:

  • Short-term demand for temporary agency workers surged by 12 percentage points to net: +16 compared to March-May 2019. In the medium term however, demand decreased by 1 percentage point to net: +4.

  • Three in four (75%) employers highlighted that they have little or no surplus workforce capacity, rising to 85 per cent in the public sector.

  • Half (49%) of employers of permanent staff expressed concern about the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent hire. Health & social care, engineering & technical, and construction were the areas of most concern.

  • Almost nine in ten (87%) UK employers highlighted the importance of a recruitment agency’s regional and/or sectoral expertise when choosing a recruitment partner.

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