With a roadmap for an exit out of lockdown finally revealed, recent data has shown that business confidence in hiring has continued to recover.
The Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) latest JobsOutlook survey found that employers’ confidence in their ability to hire new staff rose to net: +7 in November 2020-January 2021. This is an increase of two percentage points on the previous rolling quarter.
The survey also shows that employers’ hiring intentions for contract/temp agency workers were at net: +6 in the short term and net: +12 in the medium term – significantly higher than the net: -2 and net: -4, respectively, recorded a year earlier.
Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, commented, “With the whole of the UK in lockdown throughout January, it is a good sign that employers’ confidence levels and hiring plans have continued to improve across the last quarter – albeit slowly. Lockdown exit plans, set out by the Prime Minister and First Ministers, will give companies a further boost and allow them to firm up their plans for re-opening.”
Neil added, “Nevertheless, June is a long way away. Businesses all over the UK will be looking to next week’s Budget as an opportunity for the government to match economic action to pandemic ambition. That includes cashflow support – like extending the terms of the VAT deferral and maintaining furlough – but also action to boost the recovery, like cuts in employers’ National Insurance and reforms to the apprenticeship levy.
“As we start to open up the economy again it is vital that businesses take this opportunity to build back in a more productive and inclusive way – and that starts by taking recruitment seriously. Recent REC research shows that good recruitment boosts UK productivity by £7.7 billion every year, as well as helping to improve diversity in the workplace. Getting recruitment right will play a vital role in kickstarting the economy in the coming months.”
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