More than half of UK employers are planning to recruit staff in the next three months, new research has revealed.
The findings have been described as the first positive sign for employment prospects seen in a year.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said 56 per cent of businesses planned to increase staff numbers in the coming months. This is up from 53 per cent in late 2020, but a fall from the 66 per cent planning to hire staff a year ago, before the coronavirus pandemic.
What sectors have the strongest hiring intentions?
Healthcare, finance and insurance, education and ICT are the sectors with the strongest hiring intentions.
The hospitality sector was found to have the weakest intentions, after bearing the brunt of the current lockdown. Only 36 per cent of hospitality employers intend to recruit new staff, according to the survey.
Gerwyn Davies, a senior labour market advisor to the CIPD, said: “Our findings suggest that unemployment may be close to peak and may even undershoot official forecasts, especially given the reported fall in the supply of overseas workers.”
Redundancies to still occur in 2020
More job losses could occur in 2020.
Davies said: “It is far too soon to rule out further significant private sector redundancies later in the year if the government does not extend the furlough scheme to the end of June or if the economy suffers any additional unexpected shocks.”
The CIPD survey was done in partnership with recruitment firm Adecco, and covered 2,000 employers between 5 and 30 January 2021.
The survey found that the number of firms planning to make redundancies in the first quarter of 2021 dropped from 30 per cent to 20 per cent, compared with the previous three month period.
The British Chambers of Commerce also warned last week that one in four of its members planned to make job cuts if the support ended while they were still feeling the impact of the pandemic.
The Government’s furlough programme is currently supporting around one in five private sector workers through the lockdown and is due to end on 20 April.
The most recent unemployment rate, measuring from September to November, was five per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Davies added: “It would be hugely counterproductive if the government's financial support faltered, while some of the biggest sectors of the UK economy are still in survival mode."