REC - Jobs Outlook - Quarter ending in September saw steady optimism in businesses' hiring confidence, and growing intentions to hire

Employers’ confidence in hiring for their own business ended its pandemic-driven fall in the third quarter of 2020, returning to net zero in July-September. This represents a recovery from a low point of net: -13 in April-June. 

While employers remain concerned about the overall outlook for the UK economy (net: -44, at the same level as the three months to August), this better picture on confidence for their own firms is feeding through to increased hiring.

The REC’s latest JobsOutlook found that permanent hiring intentions rose to a net: +13 in the short term and a net: +17 in the medium term. This is a significant improvement from the previous quarter (April-June) at the height of the pandemic, when hiring intentions were at net: -2 and net: +10, respectively.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“After the record lows of the spring, a return to growing confidence is great news. This reflects what we were hearing from business leaders up and down the country over recent months, and our other data shows that it has fed through to real-world increases in recruitment. The big test now is ensuring this jobs recovery can continue as businesses have to keep working online in the face of a renewed rise in Coronavirus cases.

“Recruiters know that firms are better prepared this time around and that online interviewing, testing, and selection can be delivered well. Technology means the UK’s fantastic jobs market can continue to operate in many sectors.

“Clearly, some sectors are far more affected by new controls. Last week’s changes to the Job Support Scheme and grants for the hospitality sector in higher tier areas were very welcome in the short term, but more needs to be done to support suppliers to hospitality and leisure businesses, this includes staffing firms. Delivering an effective test, track and trace system is absolutely essential to helping our economy recover – and businesses are looking to Government to deliver on this quickly. It’s a matter of survival for many of them.”

While only three in ten (29%) employers were concerned about finding a shortage of suitable candidates for permanent roles, this rose to 34% for health and social care roles, as the number of cases of COVID-19 began to rise again. 

Other key figures from the latest JobsOutlook include:

  • A third (35%) of employers reported having no spare capacity in their workforce this quarter, rising to 43% among medium-sized employers (50-249 employees).
  • Seven in ten (69%) employers who hire temporary agency workers highlighted that agency workers are important for short-term access to key skills.
  • Seven in ten (70%) employers expressed satisfaction with their recruitment agency partners this quarter, rising to 77% among private sector businesses.





REC - Jobs Outlook - Quarter ending in September saw steady optimism in businesses' hiring confidence, and growing intentions to hire