Over a third of UK businesses (36%) have no capacity to take on more work, and almost three in five (57%) have ‘little capacity’, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

With a high proportion of employers indicating that they would struggle to meet additional demand with current staffing numbers, the survey also reveals that 84 percent of employers are planning to hire permanent staff in the next three months, and only seven percent plan to reduce numbers.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said:

“With employment levels at an all-time high and the economy strengthening, businesses will find it increasingly difficult to recruit new staff to increase their capacity.

“The priority now is to ensure that employers are able to recruit the talent they need. That means making it easier for businesses to employ workers from overseas and the UK remaining part of the EU. At home, we need to focus on improving our education system so that the next generation are equipped with the kinds of skills employers are calling for.”

This month’s JobsOutlook also found that that:

  • In the medium term, 76 percent want to hire more permanent staff but just one percent plan to reduce the number of permanent workers
  • 43 percent of employers want to hire more agency workers in the next quarter, whilst 37 percent plan to do so in the medium term
  • 80 percent of hirers say they use agency workers to gain short-term access to key strategic skills
  • 84 percent of microbusinesses state that they intend to create more permanent jobs over the next quarter compared to 21 percent this time last year

The survey also reveals a concern among employers about a potential shortage of workers with ‘education and training skills’, with over a quarter of employers (26%) raising this as an issue.