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Industry News

New data shows that half of UK employers looking to recruit for permanent roles expect to find a shortage of candidates – 5 points higher than in the same period last year (March – June 2017), with construction and health & social care being the sectors registering most concern, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest JobsOutlook report...


The proportion of employers expressing concern over the sufficient availability of agency workers rose six points this quarter to 72%, which is more than double the figure expressing the same belief a year earlier (34%).
Despite candidate shortages, UK employers’ confidence to hire and invest is at its highest for 12 months, but still 15 percentage points below the trend before the Brexit referendum. Employers’ confidence in wider economic conditions is also at its peak for the last year, but still 20 points less than before the referendum.
But the potential uncertainty of Brexit may be affecting how firms choose to hire. Intention to hire was higher, both in the short and medium term, for temporary agency workers than for permanent staff (by 6 and 4 points, respectively).
More employers are using agency workers to manage uncertainty – up 19 percentage points compared to the same period last year.

REC chief executive Neil Carberry says:


‘The underlying trend on hiring is still positive. Amidst the political maelstrom, employers are focused on growing their businesses – and are finding that there are opportunities out there for firms with great product.’


‘But we are starting to see the effects of rising uncertainty.  Candidate shortage is likely to be caused by a combination of people being less willing to take a chance on a move, and a falling trend or workers coming from the EU – especially in sectors like construction and hospitality. The move to hiring more temporary rather than permanent staff also reflects employers’ sense that they need to be flexible to adapt to whatever outcome we reach on Brexit.’   


‘To protect jobs and hiring, businesses across the country will be looking for the government to secure a deal on Brexit that delivers the transition period and simple, ongoing access to the EU workers who can help keep our key industries growing in a time of labour shortage.’




Notes to editors:  


1.    For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2192/2157 or An ISDN line is available for interviews on 0207 021 0584.


2.    JobsOutlook is produced by the REC in partnership with ComRes. ComRes interviewed 600 UK employees and owners involved in hiring by telephone between April 11th and June 25th 2018. Data were weighted to be representative of UK adults in employment by region, broad industry sector and public / private sector split. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Data tables are available at


3.    Jobs transform lives, which is why we are building the best recruitment industry in the world. As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need. We are absolutely passionate and totally committed in this pursuit for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire. Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at