Business confidence in the UK economy has fallen sharply in response to labor shortages, the Omicron variant and rising inflation.
According to the Confederation of Recruitment and Employment (REC) ‘s latest JobsOutlook survey, there has been a nine percentage point drop in trust in the past three months leading to a score of -6 – the first time that the barometer has fallen into negative territory since February- April 2021. Business confidence in hiring and investment decisions fell two percentage points to +11, after surpassing +30 in May . The REC said demand for temporary staff was particularly strong as the economy became increasingly uncertain, with a net score of +15. Temporary work, he said, was a valuable resource for businesses and workers in uncertain times, helping to manage peaks and troughs in business demand and keeping people working. Hiring intentions for permanent staff remain solid at net: +21, both in the short term and in the medium term. The survey also found that in November, about a month after the leave scheme ended, most employers (51%) had seen no change in the availability of candidates for vacant positions. However, slightly more employers (19%) experienced a reduction in the number of suitable candidates than an increase (12%). For Kate Shoesmith, deputy director general of REC, the figures were “not surprising”. She stressed that companies needed certainty about any future restrictions. She said: “Labor shortages and concerns about rising inflation ha