Confidence in the economic climate is improving and businesses are changing their hiring strategies to make the most of it, according to three in four (74%) employers responding to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

With 94 percent of businesses reporting difficulties taking on more work without more staff, almost all employers (98%) say they will either maintain or increase their reliance on agency workers. Eight in ten (80%) plan to increase their number of permanent workers in the next three months.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said:

“Employers are consistently telling us about the importance of temporary workers, especially in areas where there are skills shortages. People with managerial experience are especially in demand, and this points to the need within many businesses to implement changes in order to boost productivity.

“More generally we are seeing employers shift their focus away from hiring new staff in order to concentrate on getting the most out of the people they already have. This is good news for workers who should see more training opportunities and incentives being offered, potentially including increases in pay.”

The regular monthly survey of 600 employers also found that:

  • Forty-four per cent of hirers said that they expect confidence in hiring and investment decisions to get better
  • Almost half (48 per cent) have moved at least one temporary worker to permanent status in the last three months
  • Three in four (73 per cent) use agency workers to provide ‘key strategic skills’
  • Over the next year, employers expect to see a shortage of workers with professional and managerial skills, technical and engineering skills, and driving and distribution skills for both permanent and temporary roles.