Employer worries at recruitment market

Employers are becoming increasingly worried about the future, according to
this quarter’s figures from the Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI).

The index has continued to fall and now stands at 113, compared with 119
three months ago, suggesting a drop in recruitment activity.

The RCI is a quarterly survey of public and private sector employers that
measures expected changes in recruitment activity and business conditions over
the following six months.

Run by the Cranfield School of Management, and supported by the Daily
Telegraph and Personnel Today, the latest figures – which also look at
recruitment methods, skills shortages, staff turnover and pay rates – reveal
employers are concerned about business conditions and demand for their products
and services.

The survey of 1,236 public and private sector employers shows confidence is
falling – a net figure of just 15 per cent say they are optimistic, compared
with more than 70 per cent last summer.

Commenting on the findings, Shaun Tyson, professor of HR at Cranfield School
of Management, said: "There is a definite feeling of pessimism about the
economy, especially in the service sector, which had a reasonably buoyant 2002.

"Recruitment confidence is declining relative to a very high peak 18
months ago, immediately before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade
Center. This was a time when demand was far too high – especially in the South
East – and employers could not recruit people for love nor money."

The spring 2003 figures show that employers expect to reduce their
expenditure on nearly all recruitment methods over the next six months.

Spending on employment agencies and consultancies looks set to suffer a net
drop in revenue. Only commercial websites – still a relatively immature
recruitment tool – are likely to see any growth.

By Quentin Reade


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