Business confidence in the UK economy improved by 17% between early May and June. Alongside this, employers’ hiring intentions also improved, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.
In the first half of June, employer confidence in the prospects for the UK economy was at net: -46. This is a notable improvement of 17% from May (net: -62). Confidence levels were highest in large (250+ employee) firms, at net: -34, and lowest amongst micro and small (0-49 employee) businesses, at net: -52.
Meanwhile, the survey, which was conducted between 2nd and 16th June, found that more employers are planning to expand their workforce than reduce it in the next three months, as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme continues to support firms to avoid redundancies.
Employers’ intentions to hire permanent staff in the short term (over the next three months) improved by 11% from May, and returned to positive territory at net: +6. Similarly, employers’ intentions to hire permanent staff in the medium term (over the next 4-12 months) increased by 9% between May and June, to net: +15.
Meanwhile, indicative hiring intentions for temporary staff in the short term and medium term improved in June and are in positive territory.
Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said, “This survey adds to the evidence we are seeing all over the UK that as lockdown ends, at least some normal activity is returning. If the lockdown measures continue to ease and public confidence improves, we should start to see business leaders put their plans into action and hire.”
“This normalisation process will also be vital both for making sure that many furloughed workers are able to return to their jobs, and limiting the spike in unemployment that is likely when CJRS ends,” Carberry said. “The recruitment industry will be a vital part of this recovery, helping to place the right people into the right roles and get the country back to work.”
The report also showed that demand for permanent health & social care staff was high in both the short term and medium term, at net: +44 and net: +52, respectively. In the medium term, demand for Industrial (net: +53) and Construction (net: +30) workers was also high.
Meanwhile, 75% of employers said that they had little or no spare capacity in their workforce in June, up from 63% in May.
Earlier this months, the REC’s Jobs Recovery Tracker showed that the number of job postings in the UK has been slowly increasing over the past few weeks. The number of new job adverts in the first week of June reached 112,000, 64% higher than the previous week.