UK - Hiring Plans Remain Positive Despite Falling Business Confidence
Posted 2nd October 2019 • Written by staffingindustry.com
Employers’ hiring intentions for the June to August period have remained positive despite a decline in business confidence, according to the latest JobsOutlook report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and ComRes.
During the August quarter, 30% more employers felt that economic conditions were worsening rather than improving (net: -30), a fall of 4% on the previous rolling quarter. In contrast, the balance of confidence in making hiring/investment decisions improved by 1%, edging it back into positive territory (net: +1).
Meanwhile, the report showed that demand for permanent employees in the short term rose by 5% to a net figure of +21, compared to March-May 2019. Medium-term demand also increased over the same period, rising by 7% to net: +25.
The REC cautioned that with employers’ confidence in the UK economy falling this quarter, these hiring plans could be hampered by the uncertainty over Brexit.
Short-term demand for temporary agency workers surged by 12% to net: +16 compared to March-May 2019. In the medium term, however, demand decreased by 1% to net: +4.
Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, commented, “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,” Carberry said.
The majority, or 75%, of employers highlighted that they have little or no surplus workforce capacity. This figure rose to 85% in the public sector.
Half, or 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.
Meanwhile, 87% of UK employers highlighted the importance of a recruitment agency’s regional and/or sectoral expertise when choosing a recruitment partner. This was an increase from 71% last year.