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REC JobsOutlook April 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. With the general election coming up, REC also shared results from their recent surveys focused around election pledges.

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

“If you think back to 2010 there was a lot of uncertainty about the impact a coalition government might have on the stability of our nation and our economy. After five years’ experience of a coalition our survey shows that employers are relatively sanguine about the possibility of another multi-party government after May with the vast majority indicating a result that fails to deliver one clear winner won’t disrupt their plans for job creation.

“The biggest challenge, and a real constraint on continued growth in our economy, is the lack of candidates with the right skills to fill the vacancies employers have to offer. Employment is at a record high, and yet businesses say they will need more staff if demand for their products or services increases. It’s good news for jobseekers and people looking to move roles, but it’s a headache for bosses as candidates become harder and harder to find.

Whichever party or parties form the next government must take a sensible, evidence-based approach to immigration policy which doesn’t hamper employers’ abilities to build their businesses and create jobs and wealth.”

Summary of key points:

Election pledges

  • One in five employers (20%) say the run up to a referendum on UK membership of the EU would reduce their organisation’s confidence to make hiring and investment decisions.
  • 66% of employers believe pledges to increase the national minimum wage will have no impact on their confidence to make hiring and investment decisions.
  • Employers were less clear about the impact of a coalition with one in three employers stating “I don’t know”.


  • Almost half of all employers (49%) state that “Things are starting to pick up now”. This compares to 36% at the same time last year.

Workforce capacity

  • There was a sharp increase in the proportion of UK employers with no spare workforce capacity, rising from 39% in February to 45% in March.
  • An additional 51% reported having only ‘a little’ capacity.

Short-term outlook (next 3 months)

  • 74% of employers state they will increase the number of permanent employees, with only 4% planning to decrease their permanent workforce
  • Nearly all employers (96%) plan to retain or increase the number of agency workers
  • REC suggest this will “increase instances of organisations seeking to entice workers out of existing posts” and “employers will struggle to hire permanent workers to compensate for increased demand amongst agency workers”.
Medium-term outlook (4 to 12 months)
  • With 99% of hirers planning to hold or increase current levels of agency workers REC suggests that the use of agency workers has “shifted from incidental to strategic”.
  • Competition for available skills within the agency worker market is likely to intensify with 1% of employers planning to decrease levels.
  • Employers are advised to focus on both attraction and retention of permanent employees during this period with 97% of employers planning to maintain or increase existing levels. 
Skills shortages
  • There are an increased proportion of employers expressing concern over the availability of permanent technical and logistics workers with one in five (22%) expecting shortages in technical or engineering job functions and 16% in driving/distribution.
  • Additionally the proportion of employers expecting shortages amongst technical and engineering agency staff rose from 24% last month to 32% this month.


“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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