Majority of firms plan to increase recruitment over next year

A survey of UK firms carried out by the CBI shows that the majority of firms expect to maintain or increase their permanent recruitment in the next 12 months.

The survey. conducted this year amongst 248 firms, revealed a fairly even split with 51% of firms expecting to maintain or increase their permanent recruitment in the next 12 months and 46% planning to either reduce permanent recruitment or not recruit at all.

Some 42% of respondents expect to take steps to support young people in the year ahead, with one quarter of businesses (26%) maintaining or increasing the number of apprenticeships for young people and over one in ten (15%) creating more traineeships. One in ten firms (10%) intend to use the Kickstart Scheme to create additional jobs for young people.

In light of the pandemic, half of respondents (50%) said that they have taken steps to protect jobs. Within this group, nearly half of them have reduced working hours (46%) while more than two in five (43%) have reduced bonuses. One quarter of them have reduced overtime and pay premiums (26%).

Commenting on the findings, Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, said: “The UK labour market has been under heavy stress since the outset of the COVID-19 crisis and, although the economy has started to re-open, pressure on firms remains acute. With ongoing social distancing, higher costs, lower demand, local lockdowns and fears of a second wave, firms are tempering their recruitment plans.

“Businesses are focusing on bolstering their efforts to protects jobs and livelihoods, from cutting hours and reducing bonuses to restructuring. But continued cost pressure, unpredictable demand and uncertainty around Brexit negotiations are making trading conditions tough.”

“The Government support schemes have been lifesaving for businesses, but firms have reached a fork in the road. With many of those schemes set to unwind in the coming months, companies will be forced to follow-though on redundancy plans, which will be particularly devastating for those hard-hit sectors like aviation, hospitality and leisure.

“As the Job Retention Scheme unwinds, it’s crucial another lifeline is found. A new short-time working scheme should be open to all businesses who might be struggling now, but who have a sustainable future after this crisis.”

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