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REC's JobsOutlook report highlights contractor increases in latest report

24/08/18 Peter Livingstone Director

Despite the deterioration in confidence in the economic outlook, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions in their own businesses remained in positive territory with a net balance of +15, only falling by one point since July, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) latest JobsOutlook report, the monthly survey detailing the hiring intentions of UK employers. 

This may have been driven by ongoing concern about candidate availability with employment rates at their highest. Half (50 per cent) of UK employers expressed concern this quarter over the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent jobs.

Compared to the same period last year more employers of permanent staff planned to increase their permanent headcount in the short-term (26 percent), up 8 points and the medium term (27 percent), up 9 points.

The proportion of hirers who use contractors highlighted plans to increase their contract worker numbers in the short-term (35%) and medium term (35%) at least doubled year-on year.

Despite tightening candidate availability, almost eight in ten (78%) UK employers, who rely on the support of agencies in their hiring activity, expressed satisfaction with their partners, when surveyed in May–July. This was also 3 points higher than in the same period last year.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry says:

‘Our data shows employer confidence in the economy dipping in the face of uncertainty around the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU. So far this rising concern has only had a limited effect on employers’ own hiring plans, though, with hiring intentions still in positive territory.

“A shortage of available candidates in many areas of the economy means employers are having to work harder to bring in key staff – with many sectors, such as drivers and food supply, fearing they may be hit hard by future changes to the UK’s mobility deal with the EU.

“UK business needs to know what the Brexit deal will look like soon. The EU summit at the end of June failed to answer many questions and concerns – clarity on our future trading relationship and a comprehensive mobility and migration deal with the EU will give employers the capacity to invest and create jobs.”

Commenting on this month’s report, Peter Livingstone – Director of Contract & Interim:

“With the number of assignments reaching a near 50% increase year on year, its positive news for Redline’s Contracts business. More and more of our clients who previously only utilised our permanent business are now positively engaging with contract workers as a logical way to scale their workforce up or down or to bridge the gap whilst sourcing the right permanent candidate. It has allowed our clients greater flexibility in both maintaining and adjusting employee levels in order to meet growing demands and to ultimately ensure they deliver to their own end customer.

“The way we work is changing. One in four in the UK now works flexibly and we’re seeing a new generation of individuals enjoying the freedom and benefits that being a contractor can offer. Improved work-life balance and higher earnings are the top reasons UK workers are pursuing careers as contractors. However, in an ever-changing world and as we brace ourselves for further changes within the Private Sector (IR35 specific), it’s never been more important that recruiters and contractors empower themselves with the necessary knowledge to ensure they are legally sound and 100% compliant.”

For more information on Redline Group's Contracts Division, please contact Peter Livingstone, Director of Contract Division on +44 (01582) 878852 or email

Redline has undertaken research into candidate offer to acceptance rations for many years. For a copy of our most recent research on the Offer Vs Declination Analysis, please click here

For more information regarding how we can help your business, please contact Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email