Employers feeling more confident about ability to hire

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Employers are becoming more confident about hiring new staff and their ability to make investment decisions has improved for the first time since February, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

According to its latest JobsOutlook survey, which involved interviews with 200 UK employers, organisations’ planning to hire permanent staff within the next three months increased from a net +6 in early June to +14, while demand for staff in the next four to 12 months remained at net +12.

The positive net figure indicates that more organisations planned to hire staff than reduce headcount.

Their confidence in making hiring and investment decisions rose to a net +4 in the first half of July, up from a net -9 in June.

However, their confidence in the wider economy remained poor at -40. REC said 17% had made redundancies in the year to July 2020, up from 9% in the year to June.

According to its Jobs Recovery Tracker , which looks at the number of vacancies posted from week to week, there were 1.05 million job postings in the UK in the week of 6 to 12 July, up from 990,000 in the last week of June, as more businesses were able to reopen after the lockdown.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry said: “It’s good to see employer confidence rising as the lockdown measures ease – at this stage we would expect things to be getting better month-by-month. Even at times like these, there are always opportunities out there for jobseekers.

“But businesses are still very worried about the overall outlook for the economy, and while some are hiring, many are having to make tough decisions around laying people off.

“It’s too early to tell how quickly the economy will recover, but there are steps the government can take to keep firms hiring and boost growth – including a more flexible skills system and a reduction in the government’s payroll tax, National Insurance, to reduce the cost of hiring. Equally, it’s vital that we secure a good Brexit trade deal and deliver a workable immigration system on time to build up confidence and business investment here in the UK.”

With thousands of people having been made redundant throughout the pandemic, competition for jobs is high. Restaurant group D&D London said it had received 1,000 applications for a receptionist role at Manchester restaurant 20 Stories in less than 24 hours.

Director of people Carol Cairnes said: “The sheer number of applicants is staggering, we’ve never seen such a large number come through in such a short amount of time.

“While it means we will have the pick of an incredibly large number of highly qualified candidates, it’s very sad to see how many people are in need of employment.”

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