Contractors working in the capital through Umbrella Companies look set to benefit from a cautious but steady rise in employer confidence: the latest CBI/KPMG London Business Survey reveals that a majority of hirers expect to begin recruiting as normal in the first half of 2013.

The latest survey, which polled 168 London firms in December, found that 61% plan to hire as normal over the first half of 2013. Back in July, only 16% said this. Moreover, those companies reporting a recruitment freeze have plunged from 51% in July to 31% in December, while those actively making redundancies fell from 31% to 21%.

Despite these positive hiring plans, many firms remain cautious about the state of the economy. 40% reported that they were more confident about economic prospects over the next six months, while 22% said they were more pessimistic. Notably, respondents listed the continuing Eurozone crisis, the danger of a triple-dip recession and the weakness of the Government’s strategy for growth as their top three concerns. Rising from July’s sixth place to fourth in the ‘concerns’ league table was the difficulty businesses were experiencing in obtaining credit.

One likely consequence of this circumspection is that firms may be more inclined to hire Umbrella Company Employees rather than going all out for permanent recruitment. The CBI’s London director, Sara Parker, said that the thaw in the recruitment freeze seen for such of 2012 was “encouraging” and that the success of the Olympic Games should act as a “springboard … to break into new high-growth markets.”

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