Eight in ten employers planning to hire permanent staff in the next three months

The majority of employers (80 per cent) plan to take on permanent staff within the next three months, and only seven per cent intend to reduce their numbers, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). While employers’ hiring intentions remain remarkably strong, they have moderated slightly this month from 84 per cent in December’s report, and 87 per cent in November.

In the medium term (4-12 months), three in four (76 per cent) are planning to recruit, with only one per cent signalling intentions to reduce their permanent workforce. This correlates with a high level (93 per cent) of employers reporting to have ‘no’ or ‘only a little’ spare capacity to increase business.

A rise in demand for permanent staff is especially notable amongst microbusinesses, with a net balance of 74 per cent intending to take on staff in the next three months, compared to 29 per cent who signalled this intent 12 months ago.

December’s survey respondents were also asked about ways to encourage applications from older workers, with issues such as the language used in job adverts highlighted as an area for improvement.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said:

“Businesses are increasingly thinking about expanding their numbers and many are telling us that they can’t take on more work without more staff. At the same time, the UK is suffering from skills shortages across the economy and it’s getting harder for hirers to attract and retain the talent they need.

“Employers should seek to improve recruitment practices and tap into talent pools that might have been overlooked. For example, we have 1 million 50-64 year olds who have been made redundant in the UK, and that’s a huge amount of skill and experience that businesses could benefit from to help meet demand.”

This month’s JobsOutlook survey also shows that 43 per cent of employers plan to take on more temporary workers in the next three months, and 46 per cent plan to increase temporary staff in the next 4-12 months. The top reason employers give for using agency workers (71 per cent of respondents) is to respond to growth.