UK employers expect candidate shortages

(2 minutes to read)

Despite candidate shortages, UK employers’ confidence to hire and invest is at its highest for 12 months.

According to latest data, many UK employers looking to recruit are expecting to find a shortage in candidates.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) recent JobsOutlook report found that employers looking to recruit for permanent roles expect to find a shortage of applicants – 5 points higher than in the same period last year (March – June 2017), with construction and health & social care being the sectors registering most concern.

The proportion of employers expressing concern over the sufficient availability of agency workers rose six points this quarter to 72%, which is more than double the figure expressing the same belief a year earlier (34%).

However, despite these concerns, confidence to hire and invest is at its highest for 12 months – but still 15 percentage points below the trend before the Brexit referendum.

Employers’ confidence in wider economic conditions is also at its peak for the last year, but still 20 points less than before the referendum.

Interestingly, intention to hire was higher, both in the short and medium term, for contract/temp agency workers than for permanent staff (by 6 and 4 points, respectively).

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In fact, more employers are using agency workers to manage uncertainty – up 19 percentage points compared to the same period last year.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry, commented on the findings, “The underlying trend on hiring is still positive. Amidst the political maelstrom, employers are focused on growing their businesses – and are finding that there are opportunities out there for firms with great product.

‘But we are starting to see the effects of rising uncertainty. Candidate shortage is likely to be caused by a combination of people being less willing to take a chance on a move, and a falling trend or workers coming from the EU – especially in sectors like construction and hospitality. The move to hiring more temporary rather than permanent staff also reflects employers’ sense that they need to be flexible to adapt to whatever outcome we reach on Brexit.”

To find out more about contracting please contact James on 01442 795 100 or email

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