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5/6/2015 11:26:26 AM

REC/KPMG Jobs Report: April roundup

The REC/KPMG Jobs Report for April was released last week, containing a wealth of sector information useful to both recruiters and employers. We’ve analysed the data to bring you the key points from the report.

One of the most encouraging pieces of data to come from this month’s report was the news that, despite pre-election jitters, British businesses share an optimistic outlook on the future of the UK economy.

The period February to March 2015 saw a 3 percent increase (to 49 percent) in the number of employers who believe ‘things are starting to pick up’. For the same period last year  the figure was 36 percent. Moreover, predictive modelling from the REC also suggests 2015 will continue to see employer hiring intentions strengthen as the year progresses.  

The REC/KPMG Jobs Report for April was released last week, containing a wealth of sector information useful to both recruiters and employers. We’ve analysed the data to bring you the key points from the report:

96 percent of employers said they intend to either maintain or increase the current level of agency workers between April and July;

Out of employers surveyed, 84 percent said they would utilise agency workers in order to gain short-term access to key strategic skills. The figure is up from 73 percent in March;

In March, the proportion of UK employers with no spare workforce capacity stood at 39 percent. For April, this has increased dramatically to 45 percent. A further 51 percent reported having only ‘a little’ capacity;

71 percent of employers claimed temporary workers earn more than permanent employees. Only 25 percent believed temps would earn about the same by becoming permanent employees;

In April, 22 percent of employers anticipated shortages of permanent technical and engineering staff, whilst 32 percent anticipated shortages in agency staff;

With little scope to take on more work due to current staffing levels, 74 percent of employers still intended to increase the volume of permanent staff over the next three months, with 81 percent planning the same in the medium term.
 

Short term outlook

In terms of permanent recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 3 months, do you think that your organisation’s permanent workforce will increase or decrease?’

Competition for skilled workers is expected to intensify, with 96 percent of employers stating that they will either hold or increase their permanent headcount levels between now and July. Only 4 percent planned to reduce their permanent headcount. With unemployment low employers are prepared to headhunt employees to address their own skills shortages.

In terms of temporary recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 3 months, do you think that your organisation’s use of agency workers will increase or decrease?’

The number of employers planning to retain or increase agency workers remains high at 96 percent. A similar number of employers are planning the same with their permanent staff. This means that employers may face challenges to recruit permanent workers to make up for a dearth of agency workers.
 

Looking further ahead  

In terms of permanent recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 4–12 months, do you think that your organisation’s permanent workforce will increase or decrease?’

97 percent of employers planned to maintain or increase existing levels in the medium term. This is on top of the short-term demand for permanent hires discussed above!

This could be a double-edged sword for employers - not only will they have to focus on attracting new staff but also concentrate on retaining existing employees to maintain their workforce.

In terms of temporary recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 4–12 months, do you think that your organisation’s use of agency workers will increase or decrease?’

A whopping 99 percent of those surveyed claimed they will have to increase or at least maintain agency worker levels in the medium-term. This clearly backs the view that the employment of agency workers has shifted from incidental to strategic.
 

Where are the skills shortages?

Employers were asked: ‘Where do you expect to see a shortage of workers this year?’

Following the trend of the last few months, there was a marked increase in the number of employers predicting shortages in the technical and engineering sectors, rising from 24 percent in March to 32 percent in April.
 

Workforce Capacity

Employers were asked: ‘How much capacity is there in your business to take on more work?’

The proportion of UK employers stating they have no spare capacity dramatically increased in March. The report appears to show that UK employers are stretched to capacity with their current workforce, with only 4 percent claiming to have a ‘fair’ amount of capacity. This figure has dropped from 11 percent in March 2014.  
 

Prospects

It will come as no surprise to learn the demand for skilled workers in the engineering sector continues to increase with little sign of abating. In contrast, however, there were a number of sectors where short-term demand decreased further in March - the most notable being permanent posts in finance, hospitality, sales and administration.

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