Lifting restrictions has led to soaring employer confidence in hiring, yet bosses are struggling to find candidates.

Between April and June, confidence levels in relation to hiring were at an unprecedented net level of +33.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)’s JobsOutlook survey also recorded business confidence at a net +17, the second rolling quarter in a row where the barometer had been in positive territory.

Not only this, but employers expect their confidence to continue to grow, with just under half (48 percent) expecting confidence in investment decisions to get better.

Alongside this, half (48 percent) also agree that the economic landscape is getting better, as the country emerges from lockdown restrictions.

Despite this optimism, employers are still struggling to find suitable candidates.

The survey found that in June, almost a third (33 percent) of employers struggled to hire staff on the grounds that workers are reluctant to change jobs, and over a quarter attributed it to their inability to offer a competitive salary.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

A number of factors including the ‘pingdemic’ are causing serious staff shortages now. Many hirers are seeing workers feel understandably more cautious about changing jobs after such an unpredictable 18 months.

Businesses will have to think hard about their offer if they want to attract staff, not just in terms of pay but also in benefits, working conditions and work-life balance.

The new UK immigration rules have also had an effect on employers accessing skilled EU national workers.

This has had the biggest impact on businesses in London (25 percent) and the Midlands (20 percent).

In spite of this shortage, businesses are set to bring in more temporary staff to mitigate the uncertainty created by the pandemic.

Between April and June, hiring intentions for temporary agency workers in the short term increased by four percentage points to net: 28+.

Speaking about how the pandemic has affected employers and workers, Kate Shoesmith commented:

We have the opportunity to shift perceptions around flexible working once and for all and make it a positive option. Government and employers urgently need to join forces to create a skills system that delivers the staff the country needs.


*In order to obtain this data, Savanta ComRes interviewed 600 UK employers involved in hiring by telephone between 1 April and 30 June 2021.