More employers make hiring plans as Brexit countdown begins – REC

Employer confidence in the economy remains negative, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). More employers continue to think economic conditions will get worse (33 per cent) than think it will get better (23 per cent).

Employers are still uncertain about hiring. For example, 20 per cent saying they ‘don’t know’ what their plans are for temporary agency workers in the next four to 12 months. However, this has fallen from 32 per cent last month as some employers begin to make plans.

The survey of 600 employers also shows:

  • Twenty-two per cent of employers who hire temporary agency workers now plan to increase headcount over the next four to 12 months, compared to just 11 per cent of employers who said this last month.
  • Only 17 per cent of employers who hire permanent staff are planning increases in the next four to 12 months. This is little changed from February, but down from 22 per cent this time last year after a gradual decline.

Short-term hiring plans remain similar to last month, with 15 per cent of respective employers planning to increase permanent staff and 16 per cent planning to increase their temporary workforce.

REC director of policy Tom Hadley says:

“Businesses are still pessimistic about the future of the economy. However, the one-year countdown to Brexit starts tomorrow and it’s got to a point where they can’t put off making hiring plans any longer.

“Employers are potentially turning to temps, which could bring opportunities to candidates interested in temporary work and the flexibility it affords, but is also a sign employers are affected by economic and political uncertainty. It’s less risky to bring people in to meet demand and keep them for a limited time, rather than spend the time hiring a new permanent member of staff when you don’t know what business will look like in the next year.

“Improving the mood of employers rests in the hands of the government. The announcement that EU workers who arrive in the transition period can stay is a positive step, but businesses need to know what access they’ll have to EU workers after that time period so they can plan ahead effectively.”


Notes to editors:

1. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 or 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 28 February 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

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