Lockdown confidence in hiring new staff is slowly rising

Despite business confidence still being low regarding hiring staff it has started to increase.

This is according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), whose ‘JobsOutlook’ report found that employers from the start to the middle of May have started to feel a bit more confident about their ability to hire new workers.

Business confidence in hiring improved by 11 percentage points compared to early April and now stands at net -10. Short-term demand for permanent positions rose from net -9 to -5. It is possible that the labour market is starting to open up again as lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased. On the 26/05/20 Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced all non-essential retail stores in England will be able to open their doors again from 15 June to the public, as long as they follow the guidelines that have been put in place to protect both employees and customers.

Other research undertaken by the REC shows that demand for cleaners, security guards and artists have all risen in recent weeks.

Also, medium-term demand for permanent and agency workers is in positive territory at net +6 showing a demand for workers during the lockdown.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said:

Coronavirus has caused a huge slowdown in the labour market, but this data indicates that the worst could be behind us. More workplaces are now starting to re-open all over the country. While we must ensure that employee safety is the top priority, hiring will pick up again alongside the economy. And while demand is still strongest in the health and care sector right now, we are likely to see positive signs for other roles in the near future.

Recruiters will be at the forefront of this recovery, working in close collaboration with employers and the government to get people back into work where they are needed most. Our sector will have a particularly big job to do in helping candidates change sectors and roles as the economy builds back in a different shape.

This research is produced by the REC in partnership with Savanta ComRes, a market research consultancy by interviewing 200 UK employers.