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The UK Jobs market continues to defy the odds – unemployment has remained the lowest in a generation, and despite the periodic Brexit-hiccups, companies around the country, no matter their size, are hiring and people are working. Throughout 2018, confidence remained high and the jobs market broke records.

According to the REC’s first Job’s Outlook report of 2019, the first 3 months of this year have broadly continued this trend – unemployment remains as low as it’s ever been, there are more job vacancies than job seekers, permanent hires are on the rise, the list goes on. However, there has been one rather drastic change of direction for one rather important metric – confidence in hiring has dropped.

Almost in opposition to the persistently high reporting of employment, the REC have reported that companies’ confidence they can find the right employee, or enough employee’s, has fallen to it’s lowest point since records began in 2016.

In part, this will be because of low confidence in the overall economic health of the country – 44% of polled companies said they felt the economic situation in the UK was getting worse, and 27% of polled companies had a drop in hiring confidence (compared to 23% who felt more confident about hiring), with a shocking 80% of polled companies saying they had no surplus workforce to deal with an increase in business and would have to look to hire, despite low confidence in the market in general.

Other notable facts from the report have been that, in the last 3 months,

  • 65% of polled companies have increased pay and earnings of their employees,
  • 58% have taken on new staff,
  • The top sectors with cross-the-board shortages are Construction, Engineering, Health and Social Care and Drivers,
  • There’s been a huge increase in short-term temp and perm staffing need,
  • Micro- and Small-enterprises are the most in need companies.

Confidence is a hard metric to measure – it’s an intangible, and many factors impact it. However, One Step have always said the best way for companies to approach this unprecedented shortage of staff is consider temporary staffing, and be flexible!

Because employment is high, turnover is high. Offering a more flexible contract or a temp-to-perm job offer gives you far more scope to find those candidates who are being made redundant, who are retraining, or who work multiple jobs/have a portfolio of jobs. That may be the difference between a gap on your team, and the agile new recruit you didn’t know you needed.

Be patient, and consider a temp!