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UK – Improvement expected in 2014 job market

29 January 2014

Employers are optimistic about the year ahead with four out of ten (43%) predicting their organisation will fare better in 2014 than in 2013 and a further two in ten (22%) saying they expect things to remain ‘the same’ this year. The figures come from the latest JobsOutlook survey of employers from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Asked about their hiring intentions for the first quarter of 2014:

  • 65% said they plan to take on more permanent employees. A further 27% plan no change and 8% said headcount will fall slightly.
  • 48% said they plan to increase their use of agency workers. A further 43% said they would keep numbers the same and 5% plan to decrease their use.

According to the survey, when considering both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter trends for 2013, a clear shift from reactionary to strategic use of agency labour has emerged. December 2012 witnessed a peak in reactionary use, focused around cost savings and managing uncertainty. By December 2013, responding to growth has shown the greatest increase in percentage points and short-term access remains a key consideration.

In terms of the criteria used to select agencies, cost considerations continue to diminish as more strategic use of agency labour emerges.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2014:

  • 59% employers predict they will end the year with a larger permanent workforce. 36% think headcount will remain the same and 5% forecast a slight decrease.
  • 38% plan to increase their use of agency workers, 55% will keep use the same and 7% say they will decrease their use of agency temps slightly.

Tom Hadley, director of policy at the REC, commented: “Our data shows business confidence is continuing to build and the jobs market recovery will gain further momentum over coming months. The challenge ahead will be to ensure that the demand for staff and specific skills can be met.”

“This tracking of employer sentiment and future hiring plans is a leading indicator and strong predictions from the second half of 2013 have been borne out by January’s employment and GDP figures. Today’s JobsOutlook points to a positive year for business and jobseekers,” he concluded.  

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