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Employers planning to increase staff levels, REC JobsOutlook survey finds

Even though many employers are continuing to face economic challenges, the majority are still planning to increase or maintain their permanent staff over the next quarter, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey from The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The survey of 600 employers found 61% plan to increase their permanent headcount (up 4% on last month) and a further 55% to maintain it in the next three months.

REC director of policy Tom Hadley said: "Our latest data shows the majority of employers are planning to increase or maintain their permanent headcount over the next quarter which suggests that the jobs market will continue to outperform the rest of the economy in the short term. Although the ONS reported a rise in unemployment last week, it is important to emphasise that the employment figures were also up.

"Currently it is small businesses that are the most cautious about hiring and we hope that announcements made by the Chancellor in last week's Budget to make it cheaper and easier to hire people will help to boost business confidence in the future."

The survey also showed that 38% of employers plan to increase their use of agency workers in the next three months and a further 50% intend to maintain current numbers.

Hadley added: "This month's report also predicts growth in demand for staff in hospitality and sales. These are two sectors that have been hit particularly hard by the recession so growth is encouraging for both employers and jobseekers."