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Jobs Outlook March 2018

Each month the Recruitment and Employment Confederation releases its monthly JobsOutlook report which includes research on the latest hiring intentions of UK employers.

JobsOutlook features in-depth analysis and insight about the UK’s labour market, including detailed responses from employers about workforce planning. It also features data about demand and anticipated candidate shortages covering more specific job roles than before including: childcare, construction, drivers, legal and HR, marketing, media and creative.

Of note in the March report:

  • Confidence in making hiring and/or investment decisions remains positive
  • Nine in ten (89%) employers of permanent staff surveyed across December–February planned to either retain their permanent headcount (74%) or increase it (15%) over the next quarter
  • Just 2% of UK employers planned any form of reduction in
    numbers
  • Short-term uncertainty in permanent headcount
    planning remains notable this quarter, with almost one in ten (9%) respondents suggesting that they did not know what their plans are
  • Sentiment amongst micro/small enterprises (0–49 employees) was down fromNET: +21 a year ago to NET: +11 now. Similarly, sentiment amongst mid-sized employers (50–249 employees) fell from NET: +20 to NET: +13 year-on-year
  • Engineering & Technical and Health & Social Care continued to be identified as the primary permanent hiring skills areas of concern for UK employers
  • At 32.2 million in November 2017 to January 2018, the UK
    workforce was 168,000 (+0.5%) higher than the previous quarter
    (Aug–Oct 2017) and 402,000 (+1.3%) higher than the same period a year earlier
  • The rate of unemployment was 4.3% in November 2017 to
    January 2018 – the same rate as in the preceding quarter (Aug–
    Oct 2017). At 1.45 million, this represented a 24,000 (+1.7%) quarter-on-quarter increase but was 127,000 (-8.1%) lower than the same period a year earlier
  • Nominal Regular Pay (excluding bonuses) increased by 2.6% in the year up to November 2017 to January 2018. However, when adjusted for consumer price inflation, Regular Pay for employees in Great Britain fell by 0.2%
  • While eight in ten (77%) respondents stated they had no spare
    or a little workforce capacity, a stark regional contrast was evident this quarter. A below UK average 24% of employers in the South (excluding London) stated they had no spare capacity while an above average 9% suggested they had considerable spare resource. In contrast, 42% of employers in the Midlands highlighted an absence of any spare capacity whilst just 3% had a considerable surplus
  • Half of all employers (50%) increased pay/earnings in the year
    to December 2017–February 2018, the lowest since August–
    October 2016

The report also stated that quality of service remains the most important criterion (96%) by those who recruit temporary/agency workers when choosing an agency, and that regional and sectoral expertise is important to 85% of employers.

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