74% of UK firms set to hire as economic conditions and optimism improve

12 August 2015

The UK labour market continues to strengthen according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The survey reveals that 74% of employers across the UK intend to appoint permanent staff in the next three months. This represents a recovery following a slight dip in hiring intentions in the last two months (62% in May, 63% in June), which the Financial Times described as an ‘election time wobble’. This indicates that employers have more confidence following a period of uncertainty during the run up to the general election.

80% of respondents said that economic conditions in the country as a whole are improving. A point supported by the Bank of England’s recent revision of future growth forecasts.

The monthly REC survey also found that 41% of employers had increased pay/earnings for staff in the last year, with none reducing pay. Once more a point supported by August’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) report stating that wages in the UK are now growing at the fastest rate for almost seven years. Consequently it should not be a surprise that according to the REC survey, employers expect to see shortages in candidates in the next year. Plus 96% of businesses surveyed have “no” or only “a little” surplus capacity to accommodate any further increase in demand, therefore only increasing the focus on hiring and wage inflation.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC, commented:

“Our data shows that almost all businesses are operating at capacity and want to take on more staff to meet demand, but the reality is that chronic skills shortages are making this difficult. For workers the outlook is good. Starting salaries continue to rise as employers compete for talent, and permanent and temporary opportunities are available to those with the required skills and capability.

With candidates in short supply employers need to think hard about how they attract potential candidates. Longer term, business, government and education must work together to help alleviate the skills shortages so that candidates are equipped with the skills that employers need.”

Ultimately therefore, employers and organisations who want to successfully appoint the required talent to drive growth and take advantage of the current economic up-turn and rising confidence will need to be pro-active and imaginative in their future recruitment campaigns. Plus they will also need to have a strong, transparent and candid relationship with a leading recruiter in the specific functional area and/or sector.

Berwick Partners is a leading retained senior management recruitment firm. Through exceptional reach, resources and expertise we find talented leaders for senior management positions across the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors. With offices across the UK, we are organised into specialist functional and sector practices in order to offer our clients deep expertise and market insight.

Simon Walton is a Partner and Head of the Retail & Consumer Practice at Berwick Partners


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