Chancellor should prioritise supporting business growth in Autumn Statement

Chancellor should prioritise supporting business growth in Autumn Statement

A quarter (25%) of employers believe that new funds to support regional economic growth should be top of the list in today’s Autumn Statement.

Following closely behind, 18% of employers suggested that more incentives to help start-ups and SMEs employ new workers, according to a poll of 200 employers in the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) JobsOutlook survey for November 2016.

The REC’s JobsOutlook survey for the last quarter suggests that employer confidence has slightly stabilised - 27% of respondents felt that domestic economic conditions are improving, up two per cent from last month’s report, yet below the 48% reported in June.

Chief Executive of REC, Kevin Green, comments: “Business confidence is still way below levels seen before the referendum. Employers are calling for interventions to drive forward projects such as the Northern Powerhouse and to bolster the economy. Now is the time for a clear message from Government that UK businesses can expect support to ensure they can weather the continued uncertainty of the EU negotiations.

This month’s JobsOutlook, based on responses from 602 employers surveyed from August to October, also reveals that a quarter (25%) of employers intend to hire more permanent staff in the medium-term.

However, 44% of employers anticipate skills shortages for permanent roles, with engineering and technology, construction, and health and social care highlighted as key areas of concern; just over a third (34%) have no spare capacity to take on more work without hiring more staff.

Green adds: “The jobs market has performed well so far since the referendum, and the data around hiring intentions is encouraging. However, employers are not a homogeneous group and the Government needs to meet a variety of needs to ensure the continued health of the jobs market.

“The Government needs to outline how it will address skills shortages in its industrial strategy and ensure that the supply of people to fill vacancies meets the demand from business. We will continue to need workers from overseas in a range of sectors, from engineering to healthcare, and must ensure immigration policies reflect immediate labour market needs.”

Other findings from the survey saw half of all employers increasing staffing levels (49%) and/or increased pay (50%) in the last year. The proportions were notably higher amongst mid-sized (50 to 249 employees) and large (250+ employees) organisations.

Almost eight in ten (79%) employers expressed satisfaction with the recruitment agencies they had used in the last two years, when surveyed in August to October, with just seven per cent expressing any level of dissatisfaction. 

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