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Just under a third (31%) of employers plan to increase the number of agency workers in the next quarter, this seeing a -3% drop from the previous quarter. And almost half (49%) want to keep the number the same in the coming three months, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
In a survey of 200 employers in April, the REC found that in the longer term 26% of those questioned want to increase agency workers over the next three to 12-month period while the majority (59%) will maintain current levels.
But overall the outlook for the jobs market is still positive as employer confidence dipped by only one point since a record high experienced in March. Most employers want to boost their staffing levels this year but the REC said that economic woes have impacted employer confidence.
“Employers took on more staff during the first quarter of this year but confidence is fragile and bad news about GDP growth and from the eurozone will contribute to them feeling a little more cautious about the future,” said the REC’s Director of Research, Roger Tweedy.
The survey showed that 66% want to boost staffing levels for permanent employees over the next three months while 63% also expect to increase permanent hires over the next three to 12-month period.
However, employers have predicted that some jobs will be particularly difficult to fill in areas including engineering, technical skills and computing, IT and telecommunications.
“Demand for staff is higher in certain sectors and bosses tell us that despite the current rate of unemployment they still predict they will find it hard to fill the vacancies they have for engineers and skilled IT and technical staff,” added Mr Tweedy.