Employer confidence in UK economy falls amid uncertainty about Omicron variant
The Recruitment Employment Confederation has released the statistics on UK jobs and opinions of the UK jobs market from recruitment companies across the UK in the quarter September -November 2021. This provides a useful insight into the confidence and hiring intentions of UK businesses.
UK Employer Confidence
In September-November 2021, business confidence in the UK economy fell with 45% of companies advising they believe economic conditions in the UK have worsened. However, employer confidence in making hiring and investment decisions remained positive. 39% of companies said they expect hiring and investment decisions to get better.
Availability of UK Candidates Since Furlough Ended
When the furlough scheme ended on the 30th September 2021, there were 1.14 million people still on furlough. This represented 4% of the UK workforce jobs*.
Whilst there was significant concern that the ending of the scheme would widen the pool of candidates for open positions, this does not seem to have happened. More employers (19%) have experienced a reduction in the number of appropriate candidates for their vacancies than have experienced an increase (12%). For many workers, the end of the scheme meant a return to their former role. This may have reduced the number applying for other opportunities.
UK Permanent Hiring
Despite the uncertainty around the UK economy, in the three months to November, employers’ short-term permanent hiring intentions remained robust. Regionally, demand was highest in the South of England and lowest in London. Nationally, large (250+ employee) organisations were notably more optimistic than the UK’s smallest (0-49 employee) enterprises. However just over 8% of companies were uncertain.
Looking at long term hiring, confidence remained strong. The proportion of employers planning to reduce headcount fell through the individual months of this rolling quarter (from 10% to 3%). Across the quarter, sentiment was highest in the South (outside London). However, 32% planning to add staff and 7% planning to release workers, there is likely to be notable churn.
UK Temporary Hiring
Employers’ intentions to hire temporary agency workers in the short term increased but there has been a lot of uncertainty amongst employers. This has caused 42% to advise they are uncertain about the long term temporary hiring of agency workers. This uncertainty was driven by employers of all sizes in London. Regionally, employers in the South were most buoyant.
UK Jobs Employment Statistics
- 32.51 million were employed in UK Jobs in August-October 2021, the total UK workforce
increased by 149,000.
- Self-employed numbers were down, by 51,000 (1.2%).
- Temporary employee numbers rose by 45,000 (2.8%)
- The official vacancy number reached a new peak of 1.22 million in September-November 2021.
This was 435,000 (55.3%) higher than the pre-pandemic level (Q1
2020), and 13 of the 18 industry sectors registered record highs
UK Unemployment Statistics
- The unemployment rate was 4.2% in August-October 2021,
compared to 4.6% last quarter (May-July) and 5.0% in the same
period last year
- There were 1.42 million people unemployed, 8.2% (127,000)
lower than the previous quarter and 17.2% (295,000) lower than the
same period last year.
- Redundancy numbers also fell to 97,000 from 104,000 in July-September.
UK Jobs Wage Growth
In real terms (adjusted for inflation), regular pay growth (excluding bonuses) for GB employees remained positive across the year to August-October 2021. However for the single month of October, real terms regular pay growth dropped.
The original report can be viewed via the Recruitment Employment Confederation Member Portal
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