The annual CBI/Partemps network group Employment Trends survey has revealed that 51% of UK businesses will grow their workforce in the year ahead.
In its twentieth year, the report found that confidence was highest amongst small and mid-sized firms (58%), with 93% reporting that they consider a diverse and inclusive workforce as being important to their future success – up on 76% compared to the previous year.
However, the survey warns that delivering further jobs growth depends on businesses being confident they can remain competitive if they choose to base staff in the UK. Nearly two thirds (63%) currently believe that changes in the UK labour market will contribute to Britain becoming a less attractive place to invest and do business over the next five years – up from 50% last year and 25% in 2015.
Skills gaps were found to be the single most prominent worry facing firms, with nearly four in five (79%) respondents highlighting this as a concern – up from 64% in 2016
Neil Carberry, CBI Managing Director for People policy, commented on the recent findings, “Britain’s record on job creation is second to none, and this year’s survey shows that this is set to continue in 2018. But with softening economic growth matched with high employment, the survey again emphasises the vital need to make progress on the Industrial Strategy and secure a good Brexit deal to improve productivity, support job creation and boost pay growth.
“The survey also shows that firms are concerned about finding the right staff in the future and this is damaging the outlook for investment in the longer term. It’s essential that businesses work to address skills gaps with colleges and other providers – but with high employment rates, domestic training alone can’t meet all our needs. Firms will need to be able to access people from outside the UK to support future growth and deliver the Industrial Strategy.”
He added, “With businesses already worried about future access to skills and labour, the worst thing we could do would be to undermine the many EU nationals already here and contributing to our businesses and public services. Last week’s Brexit deal is a good outcome if a final deal is reached, but the Government must be clear that the position of EU nationals already in the UK is secure in all scenarios.”
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