Latest survey predicts strong labour market in 2017

A strong labour market will see job growth continue to rise in 2017, according to the latest CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey

The underlying strengths of the UK’s labour market will see jobs growth continue into 2017, according to the latest CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey.

The annual survey – in its nineteenth year, with 353 respondents employing nearly 1.2 million people – found that four in ten (41%) firms across the UK will grow their workforce in the year ahead.  For the fourth year running, the survey shows that growth in permanent job opportunities will outstrip temporary recruitment.

The survey, carried out between August and October 2016, found that while the pace has slowed by comparison to last year’s survey, the positive balance of firms expecting to add employees over those expecting to shed jobs stands at +28%. This continues the optimistic trend we have seen every year since 2011.

Shaken confidence

However, uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU has shaken overall business confidence in the labour market. Overall, the balance of respondents expecting the UK to be a more attractive place to employ people in the next five years has flipped from +16% in our 2015 survey to -21% in the year’s results.

Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy-Director General, said: “With record employment levels, more people than ever are now in work and the strengths of the UK labour market look set to yield positive results over the course of 2017.

“Businesses are 100% committed to making the best of Brexit. However, this year’s survey does show a greater sense of concern about the UK’s long-term attractiveness as a place to create jobs. Getting our industrial strategy right and understanding what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be, will help ensure that this worry does not negatively impact the future performance of the labour market.

“The Government should build on the positive moves it has already made to dispel uncertainty by drawing up plans for a smooth transition, giving firms both the time to adapt to new regulations and the confidence to invest beyond 2019.”

Carmen Watson, chair of Pertemps Network Group, said: “2016 may have been a year of uncertainty for businesses but what we are seeing, looking ahead to 2017, is renewed optimism with employers continuing to invest in their workforces leading to jobs growth across the UK.

“It appears also from the survey that the majority of businesses are now working hard to push diversity and inclusivity to the fore, as it is proven to bring benefits including increased talent and improved attraction and retention levels. However, skills gaps remain a concern for employers as having the right people with the right skills is crucial for any organisation’s performance.”

Other highlights from the survey include:
  • 33% of survey respondents expect to create permanent positions, while 14% expect lower, giving a balance of +19%
  • 14% of companies expect to create temporary roles, while 12% expect a reduction in roles, giving a balance of balance, +2%
  • 30% of firms expect to create apprenticeship positions, while 4% expect lower levels of recruitment, giving a balance of +26%
  • 20% expect to expand graduate roles, with 4% plan to see fewer roles, giving a balance of +16% – the same balance as 2015
  • The majority of firms (77%) report positive employee relations and a similar proportion (76%) anticipate this continuing into 2017
  • Businesses are aware of the value of employee engagement, pointing to benefits including improved productivity and performance (73%), increased customer and client satisfaction (57%) and improved employee retention (44%)
  • In the coming year, the top workforce priorities for businesses are achieving and maintaining high levels of employee engagement (48%), retaining talent (41%) and improving leadership skills (37%)
  • Survey respondents emphasised that the future migration system must be responsive to economic need (45%) and provide access to both labour (46%) and skills (40%).
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