Businesses pessimistic about 2018 economy – REC

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 20 December 2017


Not one of the 200 employers polled by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) for this month’s JobsOutlook survey thinks economic conditions in the UK will be less challenging in 2018 than in 2017. More than half (51 per cent) think economic conditions in 2018 will be more challenging than this year, while the rest (49 per cent) think they will remain the same. 


In addition, the latest JobsOutlook survey shows that employer confidence in current economic conditions remains negative for the fifth month running. A third (33 per cent) think economic conditions in the country are worsening, while a quarter (25 per cent) think they are improving. This leaves the net balance (-9) at the joint lowest recorded level since the Brexit vote last year, equalling the score recorded in October 2017.


The JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers also finds:


  • Employer confidence in hiring and investment decisions is still positive but is now falling, with a net balance of +11 (down three points since last month).
  • However, employers are feeling uncertain about their hiring strategies. A quarter (26 per cent) of employers said they don’t know if their organisation will increase or decrease their number of agency workers in the next three months, a significantly larger proportion than the 6 per cent that said this last month. 
  • The net balance of employers planning to increase permanent staff in the short term is falling (now +13, down two points on last month) but is higher than the net balance of employers planning to increase temporary agency worker headcount (+3).


REC chief executive Kevin Green says: 


“Despite the economic malaise, the number of businesses planning to employ new people still outnumbers those planning reductions. This is good news against a deteriorating backdrop. 


“However, confidence in the UK’s economic conditions being negative for a fifth consecutive month paints a rather bleak picture. With 2017 coming to an end, it is worrying that so many businesses think mainly of challenges when it comes to next year’s economy. 


“The government needs to take action quickly to reassure employers that their EU workers can remain in the UK while also setting out a sensible post-Brexit immigration policy. This could help turn the mood around, so we can ensure 2018 continues the successes we’ve seen this year in terms of high employment rates and continued job creation.”




Notes to editors:  


1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 or An ISDN line is available for interviews on 0207 021 0584.


2. JobsOutlook is produced by the REC in partnership with ComRes. ComRes interviewed 600 UK employers and owners involved in hiring by telephone between 29th August and 14th November 2017. Data were weighted to be representative of UK adults in employment by region, broad industry sector and public / private sector split. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available at


3. ComRes surveyed 200 UK employees and owners involved in hiring by telephone between 25th October and 14th November 2017.


Do you think economic conditions in the UK in 2018 will be…


Less challenging than in 2017 0 per cent
The same as in 2017 49 per cent
More challenging than in 2017 51 per cent


4. Jobs transform lives, which is why we are building the best recruitment industry in the world. As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need. We are absolutely passionate and totally committed in this pursuit for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire. Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at


Back to top
Award winning services AEA award logoAssociation Excellence Awards 2017MemCom 2017 Awards