UK employers’ confidence in economic conditions falls for third consecutive month – REC

Nov 3, 2017

Employer confidence in the economy has fallen for the third month in a row, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

An increasing number of businesses think that economic conditions are worsening, with the net balance falling from -3 in August to -7 in September and -9 in the latest report.

The net balance of employers planning to increase temporary agency worker headcount within the next three months has also fallen to -9 across all sectors. However, the demand for temporary workers within low-skilled occupations such as drivers and hospitality remains positive.

The latest JobsOutlook survey of 600 employers also shows:

  • almost seven in ten employers (69%) state that they are using agency workers to cover leave or absences, making it the number one reason to hire agency workers
  • two in five (42%) employers said they had no spare workforce capacity
  • in the health & social care sector, employers feared a shortage of temporary and permanent candidates


REC chief executive Kevin Green says: 

“It is very worrying that for the third month now, more employers feel that economic conditions are getting worse.

“Although the demand for temporary agency workers is declining, the demand for permanent staff remains strong – which is a positive sign. The jobs market’s unprecedented growth is at a tipping point. Clarity around trade, residency and immigration could prevent a rapid decline in the UK’s successful labour market. We’re looking for political leadership.

“Regarding workers’ availability, the anticipated shortage of candidates in the health & social care sector could have severe consequences. Non-UK nationals make up around ten per cent of the workforce in this sector. There have already been predictions that the NHS in England might suffer its worst winter in recent history as skills shortage start to bite and workers from the EU go home while fewer apply for roles.”

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