Employer confidence in the economy has stabilised after a fall following the EU referendum result a year ago, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).
The survey of 607 employers shows that a net balance of +5 per cent think that economic conditions in the country are getting better. Despite recovering and stabilising following a low of -4 per cent in November 2016, confidence in the economy remains significantly worse than before the EU referendum. In June 2016, just before the vote, a net balance of +26 per cent was recorded.
Asked about confidence in their own company’s hiring and investment decisions, employers are more optimistic, with a net balance of +18 per cent saying they expect it to improve according to the latest report. However, this compares to +31 per cent recorded this time last year.
Following the publication of official data showing that UK unemployment remains at 4.6 per cent (the joint-lowest level since 1975), this month’s JobsOutlook reveals:
- 35 per cent of UK employers have absolutely no spare capacity within their organisation to absorb more work
- 42 per cent anticipate a shortage of candidates for permanent hire in at least one skills area
- demand for industrial workers and drivers is particularly high.
According to data published by the REC immediately after the general election, a third (33 per cent) of UK employers think the new government’s top priority for the labour market should be to develop a strategy to make sure businesses have people with the skills they need.
REC chief executive Kevin Green says:
“One year on from the EU referendum, it is encouraging to see the labour market continue to perform well despite the political and economic turbulence. Although confidence in the economy has fallen, businesses have held their nerve and delivered record levels of employment in the UK and this should be applauded.
“As the government plans for the EU negotiations, we urge policy-makers to put the skills crisis at top of the agenda. Organisations are only as good as the people they hire and this is true of big business as well as public services. Denying access to the people that are needed will harm the country’s future prosperity.”