Nine in ten businesses are planning to add to their workforces next year despite concerns about the impact Brexit will have on the UK economy.

The JVP Group’s Business Barometer surveyed 100 SMEs in England and Wales on their confidence, current view on Brexit negotiations and recruitment plans for 2018.

The poll showed that 23 per cent planned to take on 50 or more employees next year with 22 per cent recruiting between five and 20.

Sixty-eight per cent of companies said they are confident about their own prospects and 16 per cent extremely confident.

This contrasted with 36 per cent of firms which are concerned about Brexit and 40 per cent who remain uncertain.

Cath Harrison, Managing Director of the North Wales-based JVP Group, an in-house recruitment support specialist, said:

“It is hugely encouraging that despite the continuing uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations and their eventual outcome, nine in 10 SMEs expect to grow their workforces in 2018.

“Businesses are clearly determined not to let Brexit distract them from continuing to build their own companies and create opportunities for both existing staff and new talent.”

Businesses surveyed came from a wide cross-section of sectors including financial services, construction, manufacturing, logistics, hospitality, telecoms, housing and charity.

Thirty-seven per cent of SMEs said they were confident about the UK economy’s prospects in 2018, compared with 47 per cent which are uncertain and 14 per cent which are pessimistic.

The results of the JVP Business Barometer contrast with a recent EY ITEM Club report which suggested:

“The UK labour market is set to face a rockier period over the next few years with unemployment rising as the consequences of a slowdown in economic growth bite and pay growth remains subdued.”
Cath Harrison added: “We will continue to track the confidence of businesses and their recruitment plans over the coming months but the indications are that businesses are optimistic about the future as we move towards 2018.”