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Jobs Outlook August 2018


JobsOutlook is the REC's monthly survey detailing the 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 and data about demand and anticipated candidate shortages across various sectors.

Key findings in the August survey include:

  • Employers’ confidence in the prospects for the UK economy returned to negative territory this quarter, falling 7 points to NET: -1.
  • Despite the significant deterioration in confidence in the economic outlook, confidence in making hiring and investment decisions fell by just 1 point and remained firmly in
    positive territory, at NET: +15.
  • Two thirds (67%) of UK permanent hirers planned to hold their permanent headcount at the existing level over the next quarter, when surveyed in May–July 2018. This was down from 74% who planned to maintain the status quo a year earlier. Encouragingly, there was a notable 8-point upward year-on-year shift in the proportion planning to increase headcount, with a quarter (26%) planning to add to their numbers.
  • There was a similar year-on-year shift from maintaining to increasing permanent headcount in the medium-term. At 61%, the proportion of permanent hirers planning to hold numbers was 10 points lower than the same period last year whilst, at 27%, the proportion planning to add headcount was 9 points higher. There was a notable
    regional rise, year-on-year, in the proportion of employers in London and the South planning to add headcount, from 21% to 35%.
  • It was amongst medium (50–249 employees) and large (250+ employees) enterprises that the most significant change in the net balance of sentiment towards permanent hiring occurred this quarter, rising by 6 and 5 points respectively. 
  • Amongst the half (50%) of UK employers of permanent staff that expressed concern, this quarter, over the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent hire, anticipation of shortages was most heightened in relation to construction skills, followed by health and social care and engineering.
  • Whilst the notional growth in the regular wage for employees in Great Britain rose by 2.7% between April–June 2017 and 2018, it increased (in real terms) by just 0.4% when adjusted for inflation (CPI). These figures notably exclude the earnings
    of the self-employed.
  • The Gfk index of consumer confidence dropped again this month due to ongoing pessimism about the state of the UK economy. 
  • The proportion of employers utilising recruitment firms to source permanent or temporary workers continues to increase. 
  • Three quarters (76%) of UK employers reported in May–July that that they had either no spare capacity (32%) or such a small amount (44%) that they may need to take on more staff if demand increases. This is down, however, from 82% suggesting that they had lower levels of surplus capacity a year earlier. Mid-sized (50–249 employees) organisations were the tightest in terms of reserves this year, with 85% suggesting no or just a little surplus resource.
  • The proportion of respondents putting headcount freezes into place over the last year continued to rise this quarter, by 2 points to 19% – up from 15% a year earlier. 




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