Recruitment Body calls for shift in perceptions

23rd August, 2021
Recruitment Body calls for shift in perceptions

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation has called for the Government and employers to shift perceptions around flexible working and make it a positive option. The comment, made by Kate Shoesmith who is Deputy CEO of the REC, was made in response to growing confidence in the UK economy. The REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey highlights employer’s confidence in their ability to hire new staff increasing to a net level of +33. The REC survey also found that business confidence in the UK economy rose by 6 percentage points and is the second rolling quarter in a row that the measures have been in positive territory.

“As restrictions have lifted over the past few months, we have seen employer confidence shoot upwards, and the confidence in hiring has reached a new record high. More importantly, this has translated into real-world recruitment activity, with more job adverts being posted and recruiters are working harder than ever to hire the right people for the right roles,” said Shoesmith. She highlighted the importance of a flexible workforce by stating, “But a number of factors including the ‘pandemic’ are causing serious staff shortages now. Many hirers are seeing workers feel understandably more cautious about changing jobs after such an unpredictable 18 months. Businesses will have to think hard about their offer if they want to attract staff, not just in terms of pay but also benefits, working conditions, and work-life balance. We have the opportunity to shift perceptions around flexible working once and for all and make it a positive option. Government and employers urgently need to join forces to create a skills system that delivers the staff the country needs. And while the uncertainty continues, we need to maintain digital Right to Work checks for UK nationals from 1 September so employers can get people into work quickly and safely.”

With the economic outlook improving and final covid restrictions lifted, increasing numbers of businesses are looking to bring in more temporary staff in the coming months to help them navigate the fluid nature of the pandemic. In the three months to June, hiring intentions for temporary agency workers in the short term (in the next three months) increased by four percentage points to net: +28.

The latest ONS labour market figures published on 17 August show vacancy levels at an all time high that emphasise labour shortages in key sectors. Such shortages offer opportunities for short term contracts. Nearly 80% of employers use highly skilled contractors to provide short term access to key strategic skills and highlights the important role that contractors play in helping firms stay productive when skills are scarce – views expressed by REC in their response to the latest ONS publication.

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