Jobs optimism among employers hits eight-year high

Optimism among UK employers is at an eight-year high – with all sectors expecting a post-pandemic jobs recovery, according to a new survey.

Jobs in the public, private and voluntary sector are all set to increase and pay prospects have also improved, the latest labour market outlook report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and recruiter Adecco.

The quarterly report’s net employment intentions balance, which measures the difference between employers expecting to add jobs and those planning to cut them, hit a score of 27 for the second quarter of 2021, compared with 11 in the first quarter of the year.

Coronavirus – Fri Apr 16, 2021
The easing of restrictions is expected to create more jobs in the hospitality sector, a survey has found (Kirsty O’Connor / PA)

Employer optimism found the private and voluntary sectors record scores of 28, with the public sector coming in at 22 – bringing a score stronger than at any time since the survey began in February 2013.

Sectors including hospitality and retail also saw optimism from employers as the economy reopens and lockdown restrictions start to ease from today. More than two-thirds of hospitality firms said they would be looking to hire more staff in the coming months.

Basic pay expectations are also set to increase from 1% to 2% in the next 12 months, with median basic pay expectations in the private sector increasing from 1.5% to 2% on the previous quarter, the survey found.

However, median basic pay expectations in the public sector in the next 12 months stand at just 0.9%.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, said: “More jobs and improved pay prospects should give us all reason to cheer, but a solid jobs recovery must be focused on better jobs, not just more jobs.

“To offset the emerging threat of recruitment difficulties, employers should be reviewing not just their recruitment practices, but also the quality of work they offer – such as employment conditions, the possibility of promotion, training opportunities and the right balance of flexibility and security.

“There’s more to good work than raising wages.”

The survey also found that 64% of businesses plan to recruit staff in the three months to June whilst just 12% expect job cuts during the same period – although this was an improvement from 20% in the previous quarter discussing cuts.