The UK economy has many great strengths that we should be proud of. Employment sits at the heart of this: our record employment rate, supported by our flexible labour market, has given us a solid platform for the growth and prosperity that will be so important in all our regions as we exit the EU.
It is encouraging that the underlying strengths of our economy look set to support further jobs growth into next year in all parts of the UK. Similarly, in the short term, businesses are working hard to support pay with a majority able to pay in line or above RPI next year. But it is clear from the results of this survey that businesses have real concerns about the medium term and the impact leaving the EU may have on the perception of the UK as a place to invest and do business.
As we enter a new phase of UK-EU relations, it is imperative that employers are supported effectively so our labour market continues to perform. There is a clear opportunity for government to work in partnership with business to position the UK as an attractive global hub, and to build an economy that shares the benefits of growth with all, across places and sectors.
To deliver this vision, business and government must work together to set out the new industrial strategy, ensuring that it supports the future success of the labour market.
Josh Hardie, Deputy director-general, CBI
Despite a year dominated by uncertainty and a changing landscape, optimism among recruiters is relatively high as we prepare to enter 2017. The employment market is now very much back to pre-referendum levels and outlook for the coming year is positive with all the signs pointing towards further increases in people finding jobs, particularly on a permanent basis.
It goes without saying that we all need the UK to remain ‘open for business.’ The survey results show very little sign of the skills shortage easing, and employers are increasingly concerned about where they will find the future talent essential to fill crucial roles. It is pleasing to note that opportunities for apprenticeships are on the rise yet this is unlikely to dramatically help the situation in the short term. I believe recruiters have a vital role in helping employers place those hard-to-fill roles as partnership working may hold the key to improving job skills and employability
It is also pleasing to note the high percentage of businesses that recognise diverse and inclusive workforces are paramount to a sustainable growth and employment market. As a diversity leader, Pertemps is working tirelessly with our partners to ensure companies are not excluding potentially important talent. Any uncertainties that still exist cannot prevent the UK from continuing to offer an inclusive jobs markets that provides opportunities to all.
Carmen Watson, Managing director and chair, Pertemps Network Group
The employment trends survey 2016
- The survey was conducted between August and October 2016
- There were 353 respondents, employing more than 1,195,000 people between them
- Respondents came from businesses is all sizes and sectors across the UK
Flexibility continues to support employment growth
- Almost all businesses (97%) continue to regard the flexible labour market as essential to job creation
- For the fourth year running, further jobs growth lies ahead in all regions
- Small and medium-sized firms are leading the way with a positive balance of +32% expecting to add jobs in the next 12 months.
Businesses are working hard to raise pay
- Businesses are taking a steady line on pay but over half of respondents (57%) plan a pay award for their employees in line with inflation or above
- The introduction of the living wage in April affected half of respondents (50%). Two in five (41%) absorbed the extra cost, while more than one in four (26%) raised prices
- Looking ahead to 2020, three in ten (30%) plan to accept a reduction in profits while a fifth (18%) are considering reducing employment.
Businesses are worried about the longer-term attractiveness of the UK labour market
- The pattern of optimism about the attractiveness of the UK as a business location found by our surveys in recent years has dropped away in the 2016 survey
- Half of firms (50%) believe the UK will become less attractive over the next five years, with fewer than three in ten (29%) expecting it to become a more attractive location
- The biggest worries for the future are around access to highly skilled migrants (58%), skills gaps (58%) and access to sufficient labour to fill shortages (50%).
Download and read the full report here.
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