Employers in hiring limbo as uncertainty continues – REC

Uncertainty is impacting staffing decisions, with one third of employers (34 per cent) being unsure about their short-term hiring plans for temporary agency workers, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). One third (32 per cent) are also uncertain about agency worker hiring over the next four to 12 months. In addition, the proportion of employers who respond ‘don’t know’ about their medium-term hiring plans for permanent workers has gone up from 10 per cent in February last year to now 18 per cent.

This month’s JobsOutlook survey also shows that more than a third (35 per cent) of respondents think that economic conditions in the country are getting worse, while only one in five (21 per cent) say they are improving. The net balance of confidence in hiring and investment decisions has fallen to eight, which is the lowest since the referendum.

The JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers also finds:

• Large employers (250+ employees) are especially affected: almost half (47 per cent) are not sure if their organisation will increase or decrease their number of agency workers in the next three months. This is up from 40 per cent last month and from 18 per cent in February last year.

• Only 18 per cent of employers intend to increase their permanent staff over the next four to 12 months. This is down from 23 per cent at the same point last year.

• The proportion of respondents who plan to increase their temporary agency staff in the medium-term has fallen from 17 per cent in February 2017 to 11 per cent now.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“Employment has been rising for the past year. However, we are now seeing that businesses are starting to feel hesitant about hiring. This might indicate the impact the current political and economic uncertainty has had on employer confidence. Instead of thinking ahead, businesses are likely to make more ad-hoc decisions about recruitment. The shrinking number of candidates doesn’t help with this as employers continue to struggle with labour and skills shortages.

“We’ve now got a year left before Brexit happens and we still don’t know what this means for employers or EU staff in the country. Businesses need clarity in order to feel confident about the UK’s economic conditions. The government needs to get rid of this huge question mark and instead ensure that businesses and our successful labour market are supported.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 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 employers and owners involved in hiring by telephone between 24 November 2017 and 25 January 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