Skip to main content
Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

One in Six Employers Plan to Expand into the EU in Next Two Years - REC

Press releases

One in six UK employers (16 per cent) plan to expand their operations into Europe in the next two years, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). These developments, in addition to those already active overseas and those with expansion plans beyond the European Union (EU), mean that almost a third (31 per cent) of UK-based organisations could be working internationally by this time in 2016.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: 

“UK employers have been growing and expanding their workforces throughout 2014. Business confidence has returned to such an extent that many are now looking beyond the UK for opportunities overseas. We’re looking ahead to a potential doubling of the number of UK companies doing business beyond our shores in the next two years.

“It’s interesting that the bulk of those employers want to build their brands in the European market, re-iterating how important the EU is as our key trading partner.

“It also highlights the ambition and growing confidence of UK businesses as our economy and labour markets both continue to perform well at home.”

This month’s JobsOutlook survey of employers also found that that:

• 87 per cent of employers plan to create more permanent jobs in the next three months.
• 74 per cent intend to hire more permanent staff in the medium-term.
• 46 per cent plan to hire more agency staff in the next three months.
• 39 per cent say they will increase use of temporary agency staff over the medium term.
• The top reason employers give for using agency workers (68 per cent of respondents) is to gain short-term access to key strategic skills.

The survey also reveals that a quarter of organisations (25 per cent) have already increased their headcount in the past year but despite this more than one in three (37 per cent) are already reporting they have no capacity to take on more work without increasing staff numbers. 

There is a concern among employers about the ongoing drivers shortage for both permanent and temporary jobs. Nearly one in five hirers (18 per cent) predict shortages of drivers for permanent roles and  12 per cent are concerned about a shortage of candidates for short-term contracts in the run up to Christmas.


Notes to editors:

1. 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.
2. The topical question about expansion into Europe was posed to 200 employers in October 2014:
1. Is your organisation planning to expand your operations overseas in the next two years? [tick one only]  
• 63% No, we do not have an international presence
• 14% No, we have an international presence but will not be expanding
• 11% Yes, we will expand in EU and non-EU countries 

• 5% Yes, we will expand in the European Union   
• 1% Yes, we will expand in non-EU countries    
• 6% I don’t know        

2.  In your view, what are the biggest barriers to expansion overseas [tick ALL that apply]  
• 20% International regulation is too complex
• 16% Finding suitably skilled staff  
• 15% Cost of expansion 
• 15% International taxes / business rates are too costly
• 11% Economic uncertainty in other markets 
• 7% Limited information on overseas markets 
• 16% Don’t Know 

3. REC members can download the report in full.