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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

JobsOutlook: Employers’ intentions to hire stay high, suggesting shortages will persist

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In the three months to July, employers’ confidence in their ability to hire new staff and make investment decisions remained high at net: +29, just below the previous rolling quarter’s record high, according to new Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) data.

Employers’ intentions to hire new permanent and temporary staff over the next three months remained stable at net: +22 and net: +26 respectively, signalling that demand for workers will remain high into the autumn as businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic and deliver on new business plans.

The REC’s latest survey also found that business confidence in the UK economy rose by one percentage point to net: +18, sitting firmly in positive territory.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“We’re well into the recovery now, and our surveys show that demand for labour remains high. Even with a large number of people coming off furlough in August and September, it’s likely that high demand for workers will continue to cause shortages through the autumn. There will be particular pressures in logistics, food manufacturing and hospitality as we gear up for Christmas, and hiring for this period has already started.
“Hiring businesses need to reassess their plans to make sure they can source the people they need over the months and years to come. That means the right mix of new mid-career hires, temporary staff and trainees or apprentices. Recruitment and staffing firms understand this process better than anyone and are ideally placed to help.

“For government, the pressing issue is that labour shortages will limit business and economic growth in the months to come. It’s time to work with businesses and make the reforms needed to unemployment support and the skills system, and put more people on a path to a good job.”

Other key figures from the latest JobsOutlook include:

  • Employers’ intentions to hire permanent staff in the medium term (the next 4-12 months) remained high at net: +26.
  • Meanwhile, medium-term demand for temporary agency workers grew by four percentage points, to net: +20.
  • In July, two in five (43%) employers said that they needed to restructure pay grades across their business to reflect pay increases after the National Living Wage was raised in April 2021.


Notes to editors:

JobsOutlook is produced by the REC in partnership with Savanta ComRes. Savanta ComRes interviewed 600 UK employers involved in hiring by telephone between 3 May and 3 August 2021. Data were weighted to be representative of UK adults in employment by region, broad industry sector and public/private split. Savanta ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available at

For more information and interview enquiries, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2129 or Outside of regular office hours, please call 07702 568 829.

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The REC is the voice of the recruitment industry, speaking up for great recruiters. We drive standards and empower recruitment businesses to build better futures for great candidates and themselves. We are champions of an industry which is fundamental to the strength of the UK economy.
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