Figures released today suggest that business confidence is on the rise, with three-quarters of employers looking to increase their workforces in the next three months.
The latest Jobs Outlook data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that 74% of employers are expecting to recruit permanent staff in the next three months, with a further 66% looking to do so in the next 12 months.
In addition to these positive findings, the data highlighted significant reductions in headcount freezes, redundancies and reduced hours, while increases in staffing rose for the third consecutive month to 19%, up seven percentage points on last month.
The outlook for temporary placements is similarly upbeat, with 76% of respondents looking to either increase or maintain temporary staffing levels in the short term and 79% looking to increase or maintain their use of agency staff over the coming 12 months.
Commenting on the latest figures, REC director of research Roger Tweedy said: "Employers are more positive about their hiring intentions, which reflects an improvement in overall business confidence. However, it is too early to predict whether this will translate into significant jobs growth by the end of the year, but we remain confident that the private sector can absorb the fall-out from public sector cuts.
"Some of the media reactions to this month's official employment figures have been overly negative and we must avoid systematically talking our jobs market down. Employers are recognising the need to ramp up their recruitment activity in order to attract high-potential candidates and move their business forward. This month's 'Jobs outlook' indicates that employer caution is starting to lift - we can afford to be more upbeat about the gradual recovery of the UK labour market," Tweedy added.
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