Jobs market | Over half of UK firms plan to hire staff

Over half of UK firms plan to hire staff

More than half of all UK employers intend to hire additional staff within the next three months, according to the latest study released this week by the CIPD, showing what it called the ‘first positive signs’ of employment expanding for over a year, as reported by the BBC.

According to the research, 56% of the 2,000 firms that took part in the working survey planned to hire new staff within the first three months of the year, with the strongest hiring intentions coming from the healthcare, finance, insurance, education and ICT sectors.

The news also seems to be positive for workers currently on the Government’s furlough scheme, with the volume of companies looking to make redundancies in the first quarter of 2021 dropping from 30% to 20% when compared with the previous three-month period.

The UK appears to be at the apex of the current employment crisis; according to the ONS, the most recent unemployment rate from September to November was five per cent – an increase of 0.6% over the previous three-month period, meaning 1.72million people were unemployed in this time.

With the current lockdown preventing indoor contact and forcing many businesses to close their doors, hospitality was the worst-hit sector, accounting for around one-third of job losses in this time. According to the CIPD, the industry is still trailing behind others with only 36% intending to hire new staff.

"Our findings suggest that unemployment may be close to the peak and may even undershoot official forecasts, especially given the reported fall in the supply of overseas workers," noted CIPD's Public Policy Advisor, Gerwyn Davies.

However, whilst the overall news looks positive, the CIPD did warn that further private sector jobs may be lost at the hands of the pandemic if the current furlough scheme was not adequately reviewed later in the year.

"It would be hugely counterproductive if the Government's financial support faltered, while some of the biggest sectors of the UK economy are still in survival mode," added Davies.

Around ten million people were furloughed by UK businesses between the start of the Government’s CJRS scheme and December 13, 2020, when the last data was analysed. The current scheme is set to end on April 30.

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