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Eight in ten employers intend to increase staff numbers

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More than three-quarters (81%) of employers plan to increase permanent hiring within the next four to 12 months, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook Survey. This is an increase of two percentage points on the previous quarter.

Nearly half (48%) of the 600 employers surveyed for the report plan to increase the use of agency staff in the next four months to 12 months, up two percentage points from the previous quarter.

Although the figures do not show a large jump from the numbers released in March, they are up significantly from this time last year, when the figure for permanent employees was as low as 28%.

In the past month, 61% of employers also report that they have not decreased their workforce at all. This includes redundancies, headcount reduction or even reduced pay or hours.

REC chief executive Kevin Green told HR magazine that temporary hiring is often high when coming out of a recession, but the strong level of permanent recruitment intentions shows there is “real confidence” among employers that the worst is over.

“While I wouldn’t say this is a change of direction for employers, as permanent hiring has been relatively strong for a while, it is very encouraging to see our members looking to build towards the future,” he said.

Recruitment satisfaction high

The survey also recorded how satisfied employers are with recruitment agencies. It suggests that in May, 38% of companies were 'very satisfied' with the service they received, and a further 51% were 'fairly satisfied'.

REC head of policy & public affairs Kate Shoesmith said it showed that despite the skills shortages, recruiters are continuing to deliver a good service.

“It is testament to the hard work of recruiters that nearly 90% of employers are satisfied with the quality of the candidates being put forward by their agency,” she said.