More companies planning to recruit

The number of companies planning to recruit staff in the first four months
of the year has increased by five per cent, compared to the same time 12 months
ago.

The latest figures from the Reed Recruitment Index also show that fewer firms
plan to make redundancies, with just 8 per cent planning to downsize compared
to 10 per cent last year.

More than 1,400 organisations were involved in the survey which found that
37 per cent would be recruiting during the first quarter, up from 32 per cent
in 2002.

Planned growth is highest in large companies, with 43 per cent of those
employing more than 1,000 people planning to recruit new staff.

The picture is less positive for small firms with less than 100 staff,
although 36 per cent are still planning workforce growth.

Organisations in the UK are still suffering skills shortages, with sales
staff the most in demand at 17 per cent, a rise of 2 per cent from 2002.

Other skills shortages included technical/engineering staff (15 per cent),
accountants (14 per cent), and caterers (12 per cent).

James Reed, chief executive of Reed, said the figures were encouraging but
still below pre-September 11 levels.

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