As the furlough scheme draws to a close, employer intentions to hire staff remain high, suggesting that labour shortages will persist.

This is according to new data from Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) research, which found that employers remain optimistic about their ability to hire new staff.

In the three months to July, employers’ confidence in hiring new staff and making investment decisions reached a net +29, only slightly below the previous rolling quarter’s record high.

Demand for workers is set to remain high throughout the Autumn as businesses continue to recover from the pandemic and implement new business plans.

Employers’ intentions to hire new staff over the next three months remained stable at net +22 for permanent staff, and net +26 for temporary staff.

Employer intentions in the medium term, rather than just the next three months, were positive, with the survey finding that intentions to hire permanent staff in the next four to twelve months remained high at net +26.

Plans to hire temporary agency workers continues to grow as employers feel the shortage exacerbated by Brexit, with demand growing by four percentage points to a net +20.

The survey found that business confidence in the UK economy remains optimistic, rising by one percentage point to a net +18, sitting firmly in positive territory.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

Hiring businesses need to reassess their plans to make sure they can source the people they need over the months and years to come.

That means the right mix of new mid-career hires, temporary staff and trainees or apprentices. Recruitment and staffing firms understand this process better than anyone and are ideally placed to help.

 For government, the pressing issue is that labour shortages will limit business and economic growth in the months to come.

It’s time to work with businesses and make the reforms needed to unemployment support and the skills system, and put more people on a path to a good job.