First time since lockdown began, hiring confidence is back to positive figures

For the first time since lockdown began, hiring and investment confidence has returned to positive territory.

This is according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) ‘JobsOutlook’ which found that confidence in making hiring and investment decisions rose to +4 in the first half of July.

In June, levels were still in the negative at -9. However, sentiment among firms is now more positive and the demand for permanent staff in the short term (the next three months) is at +14. Also, medium-term demand (the next 4-12 months) is at +15.

At the end of May, the REC said confidence was negative, but it was rising steadily. It found that business confidence in hiring improved by 11 percentage points compared to early April, to stand at net -10. As well as short-term demand for permanent positions rising from net -9 to -5.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said:

It’s good to see employer confidence rising as the lockdown measures ease – at this stage we would expect things to be getting better month-by-month. Even at times like these, there are always opportunities out there for jobseekers. But businesses are still very worried about the overall outlook for the economy, and while some are hiring, many are having to make tough decisions around laying people off.

It’s too early to tell how quickly the economy will recover, but there are steps the Government can take to keep firms hiring and boost growth – including a more flexible skills system and a reduction in the government’s payroll tax, National Insurance, to reduce the cost of hiring. Equally, it’s vital that we secure a good Brexit trade deal and deliver a workable immigration system on time to build up confidence and business investment here in the UK.

However, employer’s confidence in the wider economy remains low at net -40. This number is still low despite the figure actually growing from month to month.

The REC’s ‘JobOutlook’ is produced in partnership with Savanta ComRes, a market research consultancy where they ask 200 UK employer’s opinions.