Employer confidence in UK economy turns positive for the first time since August 2017 – REC

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The proportion of employers who believe economic conditions in the UK are getting better outnumber those who think they are getting worse for the first time since August last year. 30 per cent of employers are feeling more confident in the future prospects of the UK economy, compared to 29 per cent who say they are getting worse. At the same time more employers are feeling confident to make hiring and investment decisions with 32 per cent saying they expect confidence to get better and a NET balance (confident minus not confident) of +14. 


Despite the improvement in confidence, employers still show signs of uncertainty in committing to permanent hiring plans overall. However, 41 per cent of employers are using temporary agency workers to manage any uncertainty. This was up 9 percentage points compared to the same period last year. 


As official ONS figures revealed this week that regular pay growth is above inflation compared with a year earlier, employers have to compete with each other to attract candidates. Just under half (46%) of UK employers expressed concerns over the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent hire, particularly in the public service areas of health and social care and education.


REC director of policy Tom Hadley says: 


“It is encouraging that employers are feeling more optimistic about the UK economy and that this is having a positive impact on hiring intentions of temporary staff. This underlines the importance of a vibrant temporary and contract staffing market in times of uncertainty and is good news for workers who seek more flexibility in their careers to fit around their studies or family life.


“However, there is a way to go to get to a place where employers feel confident in making those longer-term plans for permanent hiring. At the same time, employers are reporting increasing concerns with regards over the lack of candidates for key roles. This requires a twin-track approach from government: delivering on the commitment to ramp up the UK skills base, whilst also developing an evidence-based post-Brexit immigration systems that maintain access to workers from the EU.


“The UK jobs market remains a success story but we must act now to address looming challenges that will impact on both demand and supply of staff.” 




Notes to editors:  


1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 or pressoffice@rec.uk.com. 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 employees and owners involved in hiring by telephone between 12th February and 25th April 2018. 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 www.comresglobal.com


3. 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 www.rec.uk.com

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