Temp work boosted by Brexit uncertainty finds REC

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The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s April JobsOutlook shows that employers are looking to recruit more temporary workers in a bid to retain some control amidst the economic uncertainty. Anna Tobin reports

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook is a monthly survey that examines the hiring intentions of UK employers. The April report reveals that UK employers’ intentions to hire temporary agency workers have risen substantially this month, largely as a result of pessimism about the economic outlook.

The balance of sentiment for hiring agency workers in the short-term was ten percentage points higher than the previous month at net: +3. Sentiment in the medium term was at net: +1, up nine percentage points from the previous month. Employers’ confidence in economic prospects for the UK dropped by three percentage points from last month to net: -31. This is the lowest level since the survey began measuring sentiment about the economy amongst Britain’s businesses, and it is 57 percentage points lower than in June 2016.

“The more positive figures on hiring for temporary workers suggest that many businesses are turning to agency work to help them navigate the unpredictability they currently face,” says Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC. “This might be driven by waiting to see whether permanent hiring is justified, or by using additional labour to meet demand, rather than making big capital investments. In the long run, however, employment will be best supported by the stability a clear Brexit outcome will bring. It’s time to get on with delivering this.

“The delay to Brexit has given firms breathing space, and anecdotes from recruiters suggest that the jobs market has improved in the past few weeks. Building on this trend needs a deal – but it also needs action to address key staff shortages in some sectors.”

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