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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

JobsOutlook: Hiring confidence returns to positive territory but wider outlook remains gloomy

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Employers report that their ability to make hiring and investment decisions is now improving for the first time since February as lockdown eases. However, business confidence in the wider economy remains weak.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s latest JobsOutlook survey found that employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions rose to a net level of +4 in the first half of July. This was up from net: -9 in June, and indicates that on balance, employers think the outlook has improved from the previous month.

Businesses’ hiring intentions have also improved between June and July. Forecast demand for permanent staff in the short term (the next three months) now sits at net: +14, up from net: +6 in early June. Medium-term demand (the next four to twelve months) remained at net: +15.

By contrast, employers remain gloomy about the wider economy with confidence levels at net: -40, although they are rising from month to month. And, as expected, we are seeing evidence of companies restructuring in reaction to the impact of the pandemic. One in six (17%) employers had made redundancies in the year to July 2020, up from 9% in the year to June.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“It’s good to see employer confidence rising as the lockdown measures ease – at this stage we would expect things to be getting better month-by-month. Even at times like these, there are always opportunities out there for jobseekers. But businesses are still very worried about the overall outlook for the economy, and while some are hiring, many are having to make tough decisions around laying people off.

“It’s too early to tell how quickly the economy will recover, but there are steps the government can take to keep firms hiring and boost growth – including a more flexible skills system and a reduction in the government’s payroll tax, National Insurance, to reduce the cost of hiring. Equally, it’s vital that we secure a good Brexit trade deal and deliver a workable immigration system on time to build up confidence and business investment here in the UK.”


Notes to editors:

  1. JobsOutlook is produced by the REC in partnership with Savanta ComRes. Savanta ComRes interviewed 200 UK employers involved in hiring by telephone between 1 July and 13 July 2020. 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
  2. The REC’s Jobs Recovery Tracker found that there were a total of 1.05 million job postings in the UK in the week of 6-12 July, up from 990,000 in the last week of June.

For more information and interview enquiries, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2192 or Outside of regular office hours, please call 07702 568 829.