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Businesses need ‘thoughtful approach’ to hiring as labour market tightens – REC

More than eight in ten employers (83 per cent) plan to hire more permanent staff in the next three months, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Employers are showing a high level of confidence, with eight in ten (80 per cent) saying that economic conditions are improving. Ninety-four per cent of organisations are operating with limited capacity to take on more work, so hiring is a priority for those seeking to capitalise on sustained UK economic growth

The regular monthly survey of 600 employers also found that:

• Eighty-two per cent employ temporary workers in order to ‘access key strategic skills’.

• Ninety-seven per cent say that temporary workers earn more or the same as they would if they were in permanent roles.

• Employers expect a shortage of workers for permanent and temporary roles in technical/engineering and driving/distribution, for permanent roles in construction and for temporary professional/management positions.

REC director of policy Tom Hadley says:

“Businesses want to hire so that they can take on more work. But with fewer candidates available, employers need to take a thoughtful approach to bring in the skills they need.

“Hirers should be looking at how they can reach out to people who might find it more difficult to take on full-time work, such as parents or older workers. At the same time, businesses need to evaluate how they engage with under-represented group such as disabled people. Often this is about structuring work differently to fit a candidate’s needs and lifestyle.

“More generally, a recent report from Timewise has suggested that 46 per cent of the working population want flexibility in their job, so by offering the opportunity to fit work around other commitments businesses could give themselves an edge over the competition.”

The REC’s JobsOutlook report is published a week after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that unemployment in the UK fell to 5.1 per cent in the three months to November, its lowest rate since 2006. The REC’s report includes a ‘nowcast’ prediction that unemployment dropped again to 5.0 per cent in the three months to December. The ONS Labour Market Statistics for this period will be published on 17 February 2016.

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