Employers remain pessimistic about the longer-term economic outlook - but they are ready to invest

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 21 November 2018


New data shows that employers’ confidence in the prospects for the UK economy remained negative for the fourth successive month, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest JobsOutlook report. The net balance of those seeing a positive outlook as opposed to a negative one hit -11, an improvement from the previous month (October 2018) of 3 percentage points from -14.

Despite the ongoing negativity towards the prospects for the economy, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions in their own businesses remained in positive territory with a net balance of +16, a rise of 1 percentage point from the previous month.

48 per cent of UK employers who hire permanent staff expressed their concern this quarter over the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent jobs, up from 42 percent a year earlier, with anticipated shortages of health and social care workers causing most anxiety for employers for a second successive month. Engineering & technical, and hospitality workers, were again this month the other two professions where employers expect severest skills shortages. 

53 per cent of employers intending to hire temporary workers expressed concerns over the sufficient number of agency workers with the necessary skills they require, up from 46 per cent the previous month, and up from 40 per cent this time last year. Employers are expecting the most severe skills shortages among drivers, followed by industrial and the marketing, media & creative sectors. 

The net balance of employers intending to hire agency staff in the short-term rose by 3 percentage points compared to the previous month (October 2018), to a net balance of +19.

The net balance of those intending to hire temporary agency workers remained buoyant in the medium-term, rising to 16 percentage points, a rise of 2 percentage points from the previous month (October 2018).

Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation Chief Executive says:


“Today’s survey shows British businesses at their pragmatic best. Employers remain pessimistic about the longer-term economic outlook - but they are ready to invest in their own businesses to meet demand. Securing the Brexit transition period and a sensible approach to EU immigration to help deal with labour shortages will help to calm those economic fears. A deal will make sure that employers’ confidence in their own business wins out. 


“The shortages in health and social care sectors is major concern for the NHS with winter approaching. Government policy needs to support health commissioners to flexibly manage staffing needs. Without access to agency workers key front line services could be put under threat.”  



Notes to editors:  
1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2192/2157 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 31st July 2018 and 11th October 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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