· News

Business hiring confidence recovered in early December

Employers became more confident in their ability to hire new staff over the past month despite the onset of more COVID-19 restrictions and growing concern over a no-deal Brexit.

According to the JobsOutlook report by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions rose by six percentage points in the three months to November.

The REC said this put confidence levels at net: +1, returning to positive territory for the first time since January-March.

However, employer confidence in the wider UK economy fell by a further two points to net: -51, reflecting the high stakes of both the COVID-19 situation and the last stages of Brexit talks.

Further reading:

CIPD calls for June furlough extension

Millions of UK workers poised to switch careers in 2021

HR professionals risking fines to beat Brexit deadline

Employers’ intentions to hire permanent staff have been improving since the summer, but it is not currently set to improve at a rate that will offset the nation’s rising unemployment.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has reported that more than 1.5 million people have already lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said this year had been a rollercoaster for businesses.

“Our report points to a more hopeful future for the UK jobs market, if we can begin to get through the crisis as the vaccine rolls out. Business leaders around the country will be working out what the new controls mean for them – and taking the steps necessary to protect strained cash flows,” he said.

“It’s essential that the economic response stays in step with this, and that repayments of 2020’s support don’t get in the way of 2021’s recovery, in areas like the VAT deferral and on loan schemes.”

Pointing to the recent news of France closing its borders to lorry drivers , Carberry added: “Even now, the challenges at the border remind us that we need business to flow as normally as possible from January 1st to help us make progress, whatever the outcome of the Brexit talks.”