The Intelligence: Concerns for hiring

Confidence in the UK economy is largely negative.

According to current plans, the UK will have left the EU in less than 2 months, and the so-called transition period will be in place. From the ongoing political and economic uncertainty to persistent labour and skills shortages, employers’ heightened concerns are reflected in their economic outlook for 2019.

Confidence in the prospects for the UK economy has remained firmly in negative territory in recent months, signifying there has been little or no progress by government to reassure employers. At the time of writing, employers’ confidence in economic conditions deteriorated to net:-12 while confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by 3 percentage points to the lowest recorded level since April 2018. Moreover, according to a recent survey, three in five employers anticipate economic conditions will be more challenging in 2019 than in the previous year – only 3% of respondents think economic conditions will be less so (JobsOutlook, December 2018).

Combine the continuing Brexit uncertainty with changes brought about by tax reforms and technological advances, and employers are starting to make plans to respond to adverse economic conditions and maximise opportunities for growth. The recruitment industry has a crucial role to play in these efforts.

The REC’s Recruitment Industry Trends 2017/18, which reported a substantial growth of the recruitment industry, has highlighted the recruiters’ ability to adapt swiftly to changing times and shifting skills needs. Meanwhile, notwithstanding declining availability of candidates, there was a notable five-point year-on-year increase from 73% to 78% in satisfaction levels of UK employers with agency partners they have used in the last two years. Of this proportion, 27% noted that they were very satisfied – up from 17% in the same period last year (JobsOutlook, December 2018).

Uncertainty around the details of the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU as well as labour and skills shortages will remain most pressing challenges for UK businesses in 2019. The recruitment industry can help address heightened business concerns by supporting employers in planning their workforce effectively and ensuring the long-term health of the UK jobs market.

Analysis by the Treasury indicates that the country’s GDP will be lower in 15 years under all Brexit scenarios than it would be with EU membership. National income is expected to fall if migration from Europe is reduced from its current levels. But it’s at times like this that recruiters add value by connecting people to opportunities and employers to people.

78% the satisfaction level of UK employers with agency partners, up from 73%

3% confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by 3 percentage points to the lowest recorded level since April 2018


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