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REC JobsOutlook May 2015

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the representative body for the UK recruitment industry, have released their latest jobs outlook, highlighting key trends, forecasts and feedback from UK employers. This month, particular focus was given to the use of agency workers to “enable business growth as key skills become harder to find”.

Commenting on the regular monthly report, REC chief executive Kevin Green said:

“Businesses are clearly finding it difficult to attract people to certain roles. The number of vacancies is currently at record levels but candidate availability is falling. Our data indicates that employers may be shifting focus away from hiring staff, and towards improving the productivity of the workforce they already have.

 “The second trend that is starting to emerge is employers hiring more people on short term assignments because they can’t find permanent staff with the skills and that they want to flex their resource to meet volatile demand.”

Summary of key points:


  • The number of UK employers stating ‘things are starting to pick up now’ “surged” by 8 percentage points compared to the previous month.
  • Over half of all employers (57%) state that “things are starting to pick up now”, compared to 42% at the same time last year.

Workforce capacity

  • In the last year, one in five (22%) have increased their staff.

Short-term outlook (next 3 months)

  • Following three months of growth, the latest figures show a reduction in employers stating they will increase their permanent workforce, from 74% last month to 62% this month.
  • Despite nearly all employers (97%) still planning to retain or increase the number of agency workers. The number intending to increase agency workers in the next quarter has reduced to just under one in four (23%)

Medium-term outlook (4 to 12 months)

  • Mirroring the trend seen in the short-term outlook, the number of employers panning to increase headcount in the medium term as decreased from 81% to 70%.
  • Nonetheless a net balance of six in ten (62%) of employers still plan to add permanent workers in the next year.
  • Similarly there is a reduction in the number of employers planning to increase the number of agency workers.
  • With just 2% planning to release workers, REC predict this will “intensify competition for new hires amongst those that are available and may prompt workers to consider a move”

Skills shortages

  • Technical and engineering skills were once again highlighted as an “ongoing issue” and “persistent concern” for employers in the UK. With one in five employers (18%) identifying a shortage in these types of permanent workers, a third (36%) of employers have expressed a concern in availability of temporary workers with these skills.

“Recruiters also have a major part to play in connecting employers to untapped talent pools”

 Kevin Green
Chief Executive, REC

Source: REC

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