Micro-businesses fuel further growth in employer confidence

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Three quarters of employers (76%) plan to hire more permanent staff within the next quarter, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).  That confidence is also reflected in the eight out of ten employers (81%) who report they intend to increase their headcount in the next 4-12 months, a 22 percentage point rise from just 3 months ago. Positive hiring intentions among micro-businesses, those with 1-10 employees, have increased significantly for the second successive month helping to fuel growth in the overall figures.


When asked about future use of agency workers:
• 50% employers predict they will increase their use of temps over the next 3 months, up 1 point from February.
• 48% say they will engage more agency workers over the next 4-12 months, the same as last month.


The survey also reveals that employers’ motivations for using temporary agency staff have shifted over the past few years. This month, 48% said temps were important to help them ‘respond to growth’, compared to 25% giving that answer in March 2012. 78% employers said ‘short-term access to key strategic skills’ via agency staff was important for their organisation, compared to 60% who listed that as a key reason for engaging agency workers in March 2012.


The REC’s chief executive Kevin Green says:

“Employer confidence is returning and hirers are keen to make offers of permanent work to more and more people. Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and surging confidence among small employers can only be good news for jobseekers and the recovery.


“Being able to access high quality flexible staff to meet variations in demand has been vital to British businesses during the downturn.  Now we see that the majority of employers who are using flexible resource are doing so to fill talent shortages. As scarcity of skills continues to be an issue in key sectors like IT, engineering and logistics, contractors, interim managers and agency workers are becoming more important than ever to help businesses quickly access the skills they need to stay competitive.”



Notes to editors:

1. Last month there was a marked 29 percentage point rise in positive short-term hiring sentiment for permanent jobs amongst micro-businesses, 95% of the UK’s private sector enterprises. This month an additional 18% indicate intention to hire in the next quarter.  In relation to temporary agency staff the positive net balance doubled from 9% to 18% month on month. When considering the sheer volume of microbusinesses in the UK, this could create a notable surge in demand. See pages 2 and 3 in JobsOutlook.


2. The REC’s JobsOutlook tracking survey reports the responses of 600 employers questioned about their hiring intentions over the next quarter and the next year. Respondents are drawn from across the public, private and non-profit sector, and from across a range of industries and sizes of organisation.


3. REC members can download JobsOutlook for free from the REC website: www.rec.uk.com/jobsoutlook. Non-members can subscribe to the monthly report for £99 per year.

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