More than eight in 10 British businesses plan to hire more permanent staff in the next three months, a survey released on 24 February by Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed. According to the latest JobsOutlook, 82% of the business surveyed revealed they would hire permanent staff between now and May, while 29% said they have taken on more staff in the last year, driving UK employment up to 74.1%, its highest on record.
However, with 95% of UK businesses operating close to full capacity, the report indicates that it will become increasingly difficult for employers to find staff, adding 47% have awarded pay rises in the last 12 months in a bid to attract and retain talent. "Options are running out for organisations that want to take on more staff," said REC chief executive Kevin Green.
"Schools and hospitals are already facing enormous problems because of a shortage of teachers and nurses. SMEs and big businesses are both feeling the pressure. The need for people to do the jobs available is driving firms to become more innovative and creative in their recruitment strategies," Green said.
The paucity of available candidates has made temporary workers even more important for British businesses, with 90% of the respondents saying they need temporary workers to provide "key strategic skills", while 58% need temporary staff to "respond to growth".
Green added that the employment market will be high on the agenda in the months leading up to Britain's EU referendum, pointing out that it was vital for Britain to have access to sufficient workforce to meet its businesses' requirements.
"As campaigning begins in earnest around the EU referendum, jobs will be high on the agenda," he said. "We urge both sides of the argument to keep in mind that UK businesses must have sufficient access to the global labour market in order to thrive. We need more skilled people to fill job vacancies in the UK, not fewer."