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More than three quarters of employers think that the economy is improving, albeit at a slow pace. As a result, almost all employers plan to either hold or increase permanent headcount in both the short term and the medium term. These are some of the findings of the latest Jobs Outlook produced by the REC this week.

The permanent picture

A good proportion of employers - 84% - plan to increase headcount over the next quarter, and three quarters think that they will add to permanent numbers well into 2016.

In the three months up to October the skills most in demand were Technical, Engineering, Education & Training and Professional Managerial. “It should be noted that the resources that are widely anticipated to be in short supply over the next 12 months are all of a highly-skilled nature,” says the report.

Temporary staffing outlook good

The report has good news for agency workers, with 99% of employers saying that they intended to increase agency work numbers over the next quarter, and 98% plan to do so over a longer period, citing the fact that it gives them access to short term skills as the key reason.

Over the last year, more than nine in ten employers have run at no spare capacity, meaning that any growth will need extra resources brought in. “Despite continuing improvements in employers’ sentiment around their own trading prospects, this picture is virtually identical to the situation in October 2014, when there was considerably more uncertainty. As such, a ‘just-in-time’ workforce now appears to be a permanent feature of UK plc’s resourcing strategy,” said the report.

Large employers are the biggest users of temporary staff, while the smallest businesses don’t plan to increase use of temporary at all, this is in stark contrast to the same period last year.

Skills shortages for temp staff matched those of permanent, bar education and training which was replaced by construction.


The recruitment sector 

Choosing an agency because of the size and reach is edging closer to the importance of its cost and service. More than eight in ten (81%) employers flagged an agency’s scale as being important.

A similar proportion state that they are satisfied with the quality of candidates being presented by them.

Total recruitment industry turnover increased by 9.7 per cent in 2014/15 to reach £31.5 billion with growth delivered by improved margins in the permanent market and increased volumes of temporary, contract and interim placements, according to the eighth annual report on the recruitment industry’s performance, also by the REC.

634,000 people were placed into permanent roles via a recruiter in 2014/15, meaning that since the recession in 2008/09 recruitment agencies have helped 4 million people find a new permanent job.

On any given day in 2014/15 1.2 million people were out on temporary, contract or interim assignments via a recruiter, up 3.6 per cent from 2013/14.

There has been a 7% increase in the recruitment industry workforce since last year.

“This is a very exciting time for recruitment. Overall turnover has increased, employers are making more use of agency workers, contractors and interims and recruiters filling permanent vacancies are commanding better margins in a tightening jobs market,” said REC’s chief executive Kevin Green.