Jobs Outlook – January 2019

Jobs Outlook (1)

JobsOutlook is the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s monthly survey that gives a summary of the hiring intentions of UK employers. Here’s a summary of their latest report!

Employers’ confidence in the UK economy

Employers’ confidence in the prospects for the UK economy fell by 2 percentage points this month to net -14. While it’s still positive, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions declined by a notable 5 percentage points to net +8. This was the lowest level recorded since February 2018.

Employers’ confidence in hiring and investment decisions

Employers’ confidence in the UK economy fell by 2 percentage points this month. The measure of employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions also fell, by 5 percentage points.

Demand for permanent employees

Despite a fall in confidence in making hiring decisions, forecast demand for permanent employees in the short-term and medium-term increased by 7 and 14 percentage points, respectively, year-on-year.

Demand for temporary employees

At net: +3 in the short=term and net: -1 in the medium term, forecast demand for temporary agency workers was 4 and 6 percentage points lower, respectively, than in the same period last year.

Workforce capacity

79% of UK employers highlighted that they had either no surplus workforce capacity (37%) or such a small amount that they may have been to take on additional staff if demand increased (43%).

Concern about candidate availability

Employers’ concern about the availability of both permanent and temporary workers increased significantly year-on-year – from 44% to 53% for permanent staff, and from 36% to 47% for agency workers.

Important of agency workers

More employers of temporary works reported that agency workers are important for managing uncertainty in their organisations, up 15 percentage points compared with the same period last year.

What’s the outlook?


More employers of permanent staff planned to increase, rather than decrease, permanent headcount in the short-term when surveyed in October-December 2018 (net: +21). This was 7 percentage points higher than in the same period in 2017. By region, sentiment ranged from net: +15 in the North to net: +25 in London.


More employers (net: 31) planned to increase rather than decrease their permanent headcount. This was a noteworthy 14 points higher than a year earlier.

Candidate availability

More than half of UK employers (53%) of permanent staff expressed concern this quarter over the availability of candidates for permanent hire – up 9 percentage points, year-on-year.


The latest update of the REC’s ‘nowcast’ model on the UK’s headline unemployment rate signals an increase of just 4,000 in the Labour Force Survey measure of UK unemployment in the three months to December. As a result, the unemployment rate would edge up from its current four-decade low of 4.0% to 4.1%.

The model forecasts a fourth consecutive increase in unemployment and follows a rise of 8,000 in the three months to November.

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