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H1 2018 UK workforce trends

Employment in the UK is at its highest and the availability of suitable candidates continues to fall short. Despite this, REC’s Jobs Outlook reported that 82% of employers expressed their satisfaction with the candidates presented by the agencies they use to recruit staff. 

Regionally, the greatest level of satisfaction was identified in the Midlands, where 86% of employers reported their approval of the quality of candidates submitted to them. This suggests that, even in a candidate-led market, agencies work hard to meet employers’ requirements.

In this article we take a further look into employers’ hiring inclinations from permanent and temporary perspectives (courtesy of REC Jobs Outlook), as well as the impact of the impending Brexit on the EU workforce in the UK.

Permanent hiring

50% of employers who recruit permanent members of staff expressed concern over the sufficient availability of candidates; this figure is up from 42% last year. Changes to working culture and candidate expectations (e.g. recruitment process, corporate benefits etc.) contribute to the candidate shortage, leaving a distinct impact on various industries across the UK. 

The skills areas that raised the most concern amongst hirers were the front-line public service occupations of health & social care and education, followed by construction.
Nine in ten employers (90%) planned to maintain (69%) or increase (21%) their permanent headcount in the short-term. Notable regional variations in the proportion highlighting planned increases were evident with twice the percentage of employers in the Midlands (31%) highlighting their intent to add to numbers than their Northern counterparts (15%). Whilst just 5% of all employers planned to reduce numbers, this rose to 10% amongst hirers in the South (excluding London).

Temporary hiring

Two thirds (66%) of employers who recruit temporary workers are concerned over the sufficient availability of candidates – up from 32% last year. This is partly due to a fall in EU migration (more on this in next section). Short and medium-term hiring intentions were higher for those who recruit temporary agency workers than those who hire permanent members of staff. 
Marketing, media and creative was the biggest area where employers anticipate skills shortages, followed by driving and education.

Brexit’s impact on businesses and EU workers

Net annual migration of EU nationals to the UK has fallen by 75,000 in the past year to its lowest level for five years as Brexit gets under way. Research from immigration law specialist Migrate UK has found that 6 in 10 UK companies have forked out extra incentives, such as pay rises, extra bonuses and private school fees, in order to attract skilled EU workers. The value of the additional incentives offered ranged from less than £5,000 to £100,000, as EU workers become more reluctant to commit to the UK due to uncertainty about their future immigration status. More than two-thirds of manufacturers said it was harder to find staff, while in IT the figure was 79%. 

Looking for more insights?

Keep on top of the latest trends in the UK labour market by downloading our ‘Work in Progress – H1 2018’ report which looks at employment and unemployment trends, and the unexpected decrease in apprenticeship starts since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017.

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