83 per cent of the 600 UK employers polled in the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) plan to increase their employee headcounts over the coming three months.

While 80 per cent of respondents are confident that economic conditions are improving, 94 per cent are struggling to take on additional work with their current staffing levels, making additional hiring a priority if they are to capitalise on improving growth conditions in the UK.

This may prove rather more difficult than they would like, however, as candidate availability continues to tighten. This makes it more likely that employers will need to take a thoughtful approach to sourcing the talent they need, including drafting in skilled Umbrella Company Employees and other contracting professionals to execute business-critical projects.

The survey reveals that the majority of employers are already doing this, in fact, with 82 per cent saying they employ temporary/contracting workers to access key strategic skills and 97 per cent reporting that these workers earn the same or more than they would in permanent roles.

The shortage of temporary/contracting and permanent candidates is especially acute in technical/engineering and driving/distribution, the survey found; in addition, there are expected to be permanent candidate shortages in construction and temporary candidate shortages in professional/managerial roles.

REC Director of Policy Tom Hadley urged businesses to take a thoughtful approach to hiring, focusing on flexibility. He said: “More generally, a recent report from Timewise has suggested that 46 per cent of the working population want flexibility in their job, so by offering the opportunity to fit work around other commitments businesses could give themselves an edge over the competition.”

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