REC: One in four businesses hiring despite reduced confidence

Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of UK employers plan to take on more permanent staff in the next three months, with only three percent planning a reduction in their permanent workforce, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Businesses are also seeking more temporary resource, with four in five (81 per cent) planning to maintain or increase their use of agency workers in the run up to Christmas.

However, the survey of 600 employers reveals that large organisations (250+ employees) are less likely to take on new permanent staff in the short term when compared to smaller businesses.

There also appears to be differences between businesses based in the South East and those based in the rest of the UK. In the South East (including London), 77 per cent of employers expect to increase or hold their existing temporary staff in the next three months. Meanwhile, 98 per cent of employers based in the North plan to increase or maintain their temporary workforce in the same period.

Overall, economic confidence has fallen according to the latest survey. Just 25 per cent of employers surveyed in July – September think UK economic conditions are improving. This compares to 48 per cent that cited improving conditions before the EU referendum (survey period March – May).

The JobsOutlook survey also shows that employers anticipate a shortage of candidates for permanent and temporary roles in engineering, tech, construction and health & social care.

REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says:

“The latest official figures show that employment remains at a record high. Our data suggests that this positive trend is set to continue, with employers actively looking to take on more staff in the last quarter of the year. Small businesses in particular are performing well and are seeking to grow. Strong consumer spending over the last few months has been a boon to the UK economy.

“However, there are signs that business confidence in the economy is slipping. Whilst it is still too soon to draw conclusions about the impact of the decision to leave the EU, the data suggests that London is feeling the brunt of the referendum result. Businesses in the financial sector in particular are looking at the political and economic environment with some trepidation.”