UK Employers confident about 2014

Published: 6 January 2014

The long term outlook for both permanent and temporary employment has strengthened, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey of employers by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The JobsOutlook reports the responses of 600 employers questioned about their hiring intentions over the next quarter and the next year. Respondents are drawn from across the public, private and non-profit sector, and from across a range of industries and sizes of organisation.

Asked about their plans for their permanent workforce in 2014 the report finds that:

  • Almost two thirds (64%) of employers plan to hire more permanent staff in the next quarter, nine percentage points higher than this time last year.
  • More than half (56%) intend to take on make more permanent hires in the next 4-12 months, a little more than the 53% recorded in December 2012.

The outlook for use of flexible labour via recruitment agencies is also increasingly positive:

  • 47% of employers say they will increase their use of agency staff in the next three months, compared to just 30% this time last year. In December 2012, the net balance (those planning to increase use minus those planning to decrease use) was just 16%. This month that figure is 39%, representing a marked change of intent.
  • The proportion of employers planning to take on temps over the next 4-12 months has increased by three points since November to 33%. The net balance of 25% is eleven points higher than the 14% recorded this time last year.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“Compared to this time last year businesses are far more willing to commit to taking on more staff as they see demand for their products and services returning.”

Other findings include:

  • Small businesses report the highest level of confidence when responses are assessed by business size.
  • The skills areas in which employers expressed concerns of possible candidate shortages are education and training, and driving and distribution.
  • In a sign that businesses are responding to signs of growing consumer willingness to spend, predicted demand for both permanent and temporary sales staff has increased yet again.

This report appears to support Staffing Industry Analysts’ own forecast of +7% growth for the UK staffing market in 2014.

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

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