Business confidence is on the rise again with nearly three-quarters of employers – 74 per cent – expecting to increase their workforce over the next three months, according to the REC’s July JobsOutlook. A further 66 per are looking to increase their permanent workforce in the next 12 months which is encouraging news and counters some of the overly negative press that followed last week’s official jobs figures.

The latest Jobs-Outlook data shows that headcount freezes, redundancies and reduced hours are all significantly down while increases in staffing have risen for the third consecutive month to 19 per cent, up seven per cent on last month.

The outlook for temporary placements is also positive with 76 per cent of businesses looking to either increase or maintain temporary staffing levels in the short term. This upward trend is also reflected in the longer term outlook with 79 per cent looking to increase or maintain their use of agency staff over the coming 12 months.

Commenting on the latest figures, Roger Tweedy, the REC’s Director of Research, said:

“Employers are more positive about their hiring intentions, which reflects an improvement in overall business confidence. However, it is too early to predict whether this will translate into significant jobs growth by the end of the year but we remain confident that the private sector can absorb the fall-out from public sector cuts.

“Some of the media reactions to this month’s official employment figures have been overly negative and we must avoid systematically talking our jobs market down. Employers are recognising the need to ramp up their recruitment activity in order to attract high-potential candidates and move their business forward. This month’s Jobs Outlook indicates that employer caution is starting to lift, we can afford to be more upbeat about the gradual recovery of the UK labour market.”