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Hiring intentions among UK businesses rose strongly in July to surpass their pre-crisis figure and reach their highest level since 1998, according to the latest Business Trends report by accountants and business advisers BDO LLP.
The BDO Employment Index, which predicts companies' hiring intentions in three months' time, rose from 108.8 in June to 109.6 in July, indicating that job creation will continue to accelerate for the remainder of the year. A significant uptick in hiring intentions among services firms in particular has driven July's gains, suggesting that graduates from the class of 2014, many of whom will be looking to start their careers this summer, face the most encouraging job prospects of any graduation class since the onset of the financial crisis.
Commenting on the findings, Peter Hemington, Partner, BDO LLP, said: "The good news is that the unprecedented growth we've seen in UK employment this year looks set to continue, providing this year's university graduates with a welcome dose of good news in terms of job and salary prospects.
"However, we're hearing that services firms are beginning to echo manufacturers in voicing their concerns over a shortage of skilled workers and some construction businesses are already turning business away due to a lack of trained staff. This could bring the stellar growth we're enjoying in the wider economy to a grinding halt if the trend becomes entrenched.
"To address this, the Government must ensure its protectionist tendencies are put on hold until productivity returns to pre-crisis levels. Although a new wave of graduates will go some way towards meeting businesses' needs, readily available and flexible labour from Europe could relieve pressure on businesses in the short term."