United Kingdom – Plans to hire temporary workers are bolstered by increased employer confidence

February 23, 2022

Employer confidence in hiring and investment decisions hit a sharp +17 in the three months ending January. This was 8% more than the previous rolling quarter, according to a study by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

As confidence levels improved, employers’ intentions to hire permanent staff increased further. Short-term hiring intentions rose 4% to net:+24, and medium-term demand rose 5% to net:+24.

On the other hand, hiring intentions remain the highest for short-term temporary workers, net: +28.

According to the REC, temporary workers will play a vital role in sustaining businesses as they adjust to the new normal.

“The role of temporary work in providing income and flexibility in the face of rising costs of living should not be underestimated. Employers need more staff and temporary work can provide the income boost people need while maintaining other commitments such as family or caring responsibilities,” the REC said.

Intentions to hire temporary workers in the medium term remain robust on a net basis: +19.

With the omicron wave receding in January, business confidence levels have also started to show signs of recovery.

From November 2021 to January 2022, business confidence in the UK economy increased by 6% compared to the previous rolling quarter, to a net result of -5. In January, the level of employer confidence turned positive again (net: +1). This suggests more positive expectations for the economy in 2022, despite the threat of rising inflation and labor shortages.

Meanwhile, the REC found that in January, 31% of employers said candidates they had surveyed since the pandemic began in March 2020 preferred some form of hybrid work. Only 13% would prefer to work exclusively from home. The strongest preference was to be mostly in business premises with some remote/home work (17%).

Neil Carberry, REC’s chief executive, said: “As we enter 2022, activity in the UK jobs market has continued to increase. With the worst of the omicron wave behind us, employers are feeling a bit more optimistic about the state of the economy. And the majority are desperate to hire, and not just permanent staff. Temporary workers are in high demand as companies try to revive growth this year. »

“But there is a huge participation gap in the labor market right now. Companies need to make workforce planning their number one priority,” continued Carberry. “That means making serious efforts to attract candidates from more diverse backgrounds, training workers to fill the gaps and retaining their best talent. Hybrid and remote working will be part of it, we know that more and more workers are asking for it. But other benefits, conditions and development opportunities are also essential elements of a successful human resources strategy.

“The government must also play its part by urgently overhauling the skills system, including expanding the apprenticeship tax,” Carberry continued. “Politicians need to make sure we build the skills base that the UK will need in the future. Without this we cannot hope to turn the UK economy around in the long term.