Low confidence in UK economy but rising demand to hire staff say REC

Despite low confidence levels in the UK economy, the amount of employers looking to hire has increased.

This information comes from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) latest JobsOutlook report. The report found that confidence in the UK economy has dropped by one percentage point from the previous quarter (February – April 2019) as it now lies at net: -26.

The demand for permanent staff has increased to net +19 in the short-term and net: +21 in the medium term in May-July 2019. During the previous quarter, demand was at net: +16 and net: +18 respectively.

Still, just under half (46 per cent) of employers of permanent staff expressed concern regarding finding enough suitable candidates to fill the positions they are looking to fill.  Candidates with health and social care skills were listed as being the area employers were most concerned about.

As well as 77 per cent of employers saying they have little or no surplus capacity in their workforce this quarter. Also, 45 per cent of public sector employers said they have no spare workforce capacity at all.

Tom Hadley, director of policy and campaigns at the REC, said:

Our flexible labour market continues to be one of the strongest elements of the UK economy. This most recent survey shows employers are still looking to take on both permanent and temporary workers as they seek to maintain stability amidst the Brexit uncertainty. More employers also seem to be trying to transfer their best temps into permanent roles as candidate shortages continue to bite across many sectors.

These skills shortages are especially acute in sectors like health and social care. With over 100,000 vacancies in the NHS and staff already working at full capacity, the Government’s recent announcement on ending freedom of movement has come at the worst possible time. EU workers are an integral part of our health and social care system and the UK workforce as a whole. It is essential that the government has in place a sensible transition towards an evidence-based immigration policy to help reassure employers and EU citizens.

In order to obtain the research for this report, the REC works in partnership with ComRes, a market research consultancy, who interviewed 609 UK employers involved in hiring by telephone between 7 May and 25 July 2019. Data was then weighted to be representative of UK adults in employment by region, broad industry sector and public/private split.

Interested in the key trends of recruitment and the retention of staff. We recommend the Recruitment and Retention Conference 2019.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.