UK employers plan to increase their hiring activity for the sixth consecutive quarter, but they are also expecting a shortage in candidate availability.

This, in a nutshell, is the main finding of the CIPD/Success Factors Labour Market Outlook (LMO) for Summer 2013, which reveals a nine point increase on last quarter’s ‘employment balance’ score, which now stands at +14. The score refers to the number of employers planning to increase staffing versus the number planning to make reductions – positive scores indicate that hiring is outstripping cuts.  This is the highest point the score has reached since the economic meltdown of 2008.

Implicitly, however, the survey suggests that employers could well find themselves hiring skilled Umbrella Company Employees to complete core business projects on a time-limited contracting basis rather than appointing permanent staff, who could prove very difficult to find.

The CIPD’s chief economist, Mark Beatson, explained: “The challenge for the increasing proportion of employers looking to hire will lie in finding the right talent to fill their vacancies. The annual CIPD/Hays Resourcing and Talent Planning survey suggests that turnover still remains low, perhaps because many employees are reluctant to leave the security of their current role for fear that the market dips again, so employers could find fewer ideal candidates around than they might have expected.”

Mr Beatson went on to say that employers will need to be “flexible and innovative” in their approach to recruitment. While he and Success Factors’ UK and Ireland MD James Reid both believe that employers will need to invest in existing employees to expand their skills repertoires, it is not fanciful to predict that a proportion will turn to contractor solutions.

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