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Hiring intentions steady despite political economic uncertainty

09/03/17 Nick Livingstone Director

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reported that hiring intentions continue to be steady despite political and economic uncertainty.  The REC’s Job Outlook report for February 2017 stated in the three months to January, one third (33%) of employer respondents thought that economic conditions were improving, whilst 29% thought that they were getting worse. Over one in three employers (36%) expect confidence in hiring and investment decisions to get better, up two percentage points compared to last month. 

Key Points from January’s Survey

•    21% of respondents reported there was a shortage of candidates 
•    36% of employers expect confidence in hiring and investment decisions to get better
•    One in five employers plan to increase permanent headcount in the short term (22%) or medium term (23%)
•    49% of employers expect to see a shortage of suitable candidates for permanent roles in at least one job function
•    Just over a quarter (27%) of employers transferred 50% or more contract /temporary workers to a permanent position each year
•    12% of employers’ plan to increase their business headcount in the short-term

The skill shortages and quality of hires continued with 61% of larger employers (250+ employees) expecting a shortage of available staff for permanent roles, in at least one job function. Engineering and technical jobs (link) were highlighted as a key area of concern. The percentage of employers stating that they expect to find a shortage of contract/temporary workers has also doubled since August to October rolling quarter, from 19% to 38%.

The UK workforce increased by 37,000 in October to December 2016, compared to July to September. This included rises in permanent employment (+13,000) and self-employment (+13,000). Year-on-year, permanent employment contributed 173,000 to the total increase in employment of 302,000.

The report found that quality of service, market knowledge, expertise and price were the most important factors when choosing a recruitment partner. Other factors such as management information had risen, cited by 55% of all respondents this quarter with 72% of organisations surveyed expressing satisfaction with the recruitment agencies they had used in the last two years.

Respondents were asked which ways, if any, does their organisation recruit permanent members of staff and contract/temporary workers? There was a general upward trend of employers utilising a broader spread of recruitment channels. This pointed towards a tightening of skills availability. The report found that the most frequently cited recruitment channel still remained word of mouth, including approaches to past workers.

Nick Livingstone, Redline Group Director comments: "The RECs most recent report highlights the continued challenges many high-tech companies are experiencing, the “war on a talent” continues at pace, leading more employers to seek support from specialist providers such as Redline. Our 35 year history, knowledge led approach, allows us to understand the required technical recruitment nuances to deliver exceptional results."

Nick continues: "Britain’s engineering industry is driving productivity but a skills shortage is still large enough to trigger widespread concern for the long-term future. The gap between the supply and demand for people with engineering and high technology skills means company’s growth potential is being weakened. We know that a doubling of the number of engineering and technology and other related Stem and non-Stem graduates who are known to enter engineering occupations is required."

Redline Group is regularly being contacted by new high-tech customers seeking support as they find their recruitment model is failing to deliver the specialist professional staff in R&D, Senior Management, Sales & Marketing, Finance and Manufacturing & Operations.