Despite the latest economic predictions, data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation is showing some glimmers of light with a slight improvement in longer term hiring intentions and strong demand for temporary staff to meet seasonal demand.

The monthly report found:

Temps still in strong demand: Despite the Agency Workers Regulations coming into force in October demand for agency staff remains strong. Twenty eight per cent of employers said they would be increasing their temporary workforce over the next three months with another 52 per cent keeping it the same – an overall rise of five points on last month. For their longer term use, 83 per cent of employers interviewed were looking to increase or keep their temporary staff levels at their current levels.

Employers confident about growing workforce in the long-term: In the next 12 months, 59 per cent of employers are planning to grow their permanent staff while another 35 per cent say they intend to keep it at the same level as today, a dramatic leap of 20 points on last month. This in turn has boosted the overall confidence ‘Barometer’ rating which is up three points suggesting that despite continuing economic uncertainty, employers are now taking a more robust view of their workforce plans for 2012.

Employers remain cautious about short-term permanent hiring: Of the employers questioned, 35 per cent intend to keep their current headcount the same, confirming employer caution for the final months of the year. One in ten have plans to decrease their workforce. Fifty four per cent of employers plan to grow their permanent workforce in the next three months restoring the five point drop recorded last month.

Slight shift in possible impact of public sector cuts: 82 per cent of public sector employers are expecting some degree of impact as a result of the cuts. This is a sign that they are more aware of what the cuts entail, and of how they will impact. At the same time, 23 per cent of private sector employers expect public sector cuts to have a serious impact on their own business. On a more positive note, 15 per cent of public sector employers expect the cuts to have no further impact on staffing levels in their organisations – compared to six per cent last month.

Commenting on the latest data, Roger Tweedy, the REC’s Director of Research said:

“Despite latest forecasts pointing to slower economic growth, there are at least a few positive signs for the jobs market. Permanent employment opportunities will remain constrained in the short term but longer term hiring intentions provide glimmers of hope.

“Employers are also recognising the benefits that temporary staff can add in supporting seasonal demand and workforce flexibility during these uncertain times. Hiring intentions for temps are up on this time last year despite the Agency Worker Regulations coming into force in October.

“Although the full impact of these Regulations will not be apparent until the first tranche of workers end their 12 week qualifying period, the early signs are that temporary and contract work will continue to provide a key outlet for employers and workers.”