Employer confidence in UK economy shows further decline

Employer confidence in the UK economy has declined further in the past month, according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s latest JobsOutlook report.

The report’s findings, released this morning, reveal the balance of employers expecting positive outlook as opposed to a negative one was a net -5, down 4 points on the previous month and the lowest since March 2018.

However, despite this dip in confidence in the prospects for the economy for six months, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions in their own businesses remained in positive territory with a net balance of +15, unchanged from the previous month.

Half of UK employers who hire permanent staff raised concerns this quarter over the sufficient availability of candidates to fill permanent roles, with expected shortages of engineering and technical workers causing the most pressing concern for employers. Health and social care workers and construction professionals were the other two professions where employers expected to be hardest hit by skills shortages.

Three in five employers planning to hire temporary workers expressed concerns over the sufficient number of agency workers with the necessary skills they require, up from 36% at this point last year, with employers expecting the most acute skills shortages in the marketing, media & creative sector, followed by drivers and construction sectors.

The net balance of employers planning to hire agency staff in the short-term rose by 23 percentage points compared to this time last year, while the net balance of those planning to hire temporary agency workers in the medium-term rose to +19 percentage points from +7 points in September 2017.

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