Confidence in economy drops again but employers are “showing resilience” – REC

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Employer confidence in the UK economy has dropped to the lowest level since the EU referendum, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).  


Thirty-three per cent of employers believe that economic conditions are getting worse, while 26 per cent think economic conditions are improving. The net balance fell further into negative territory, from -3 last month to -7 in September.


Despite falling confidence in the economy as a whole, confidence in hiring and investment decisions remains positive at +10 per cent, showing no change from last month. Hiring intentions are also stable, with one in five (19 per cent) planning to increase permanent headcount in the next quarter. 


The latest JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers also shows:


  • six in ten (59 per cent) say that agency workers are important to responding to growth 
  • more than a third (36 per cent) expect to find a shortage of temporary agency workers to meet their needs 
  • a shortage of temporary workers is expected in the construction sector in particular 
  • a shortage of candidates to fill permanent health & social care roles is anticipated  


REC chief executive Kevin Green says: 


“Employers are showing a great deal of resilience as they continue to hire despite a growing number losing faith in the direction the economy is heading. The political climate isn’t helping the situation. Businesses need clarity in order to plan effectively and so far the Brexit negotiations have not resolved any of the core issues. 


“Employers are worried about how they will fill vacancies in the future. There are now just 1.9 unemployed people for every vacancy, and net migration from the EU is falling, which means the pool of people available to employers is shrinking. 


“Businesses can only grow if they have access to the people and skills they need. With party conference season in full swing, we urge politicians of all sides to heed the warning signs and create clarity for business. That means making progress in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.


“An early agreement on the settlement of EU nationals already working in the UK would be a step in the right direction. The vast majority of EU nationals residing in the UK come here to work and make a valuable contribution to our economy.” 




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 employees and owners involved in hiring by telephone between 30th May and 16th August 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. Unemployment is at 4.3 per cent and there are just 1.9 unemployed people for every vacancy. See full ONS data.


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

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