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Recruitment intentions up, planned redundancies down – a glimmer of hope for the first time since start of the pandemic

The latest survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shown that 56% of UK employers intend to recruit staff over the next three months. This, coupled with results from the same survey indicating that planned redundancies have dropped from 30% to 20% compared to the end of 2020, instils new hope into the bleak outlook that has pervaded the UK job market during the COVID-19 pandemic.
By the end of November 2020, the unemployment rate had risen to 5% (1.7 million people) – the highest level for more than four years – according to the Office for National Statistics. Young people, retail and hospitality were the worst hit. The independent forecaster, The Office for Budget Responsibility, previously expected unemployment to peak around 7.5% (2.6 million people) by the end of this year, but the CIPD survey suggests that the actual rate will thankfully fall short of that.
The government-backed furlough scheme has been the one thing preventing a more substantial increase, according to Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation think-tank. Speaking to the Guardian at the end of January, he said, “While the labour market continued to deteriorate, the furlough has held back the tide on jobs losses. Around one in six private sector workers were furloughed during England’s second lockdown in November”. The latest statistics suggest that the number of people on furlough, as of the start of 2021, is just under 4 million.
Industries that show the strongest signs of hiring over the next quarter are healthcare, finance and insurance, education, and information and communications. This would gel with what we know ourselves – PA Business support work closely with clients in both education and finance, and we’re definitely experiencing an upturn in terms of both enquiries and requests to help fill vacancies.

“What is also very clear, is that there are plenty of excellent candidates to fulfil market need. So many candidates, either having been furloughed or made redundant due to the impact of COVID-19 at their previous firms, are ready and raring to go. Their transferable skills ensure they are not bound to one industry. Especially in the administrative support sector that we are very familiar with.”
Sabina Hinchliffe, Managing Director, PA Business Support

In short, this means rising competition for available jobs; with unemployment levels as they are, the country is seeing an all-time high application-to-job ratio. Towards the end of last year, London was seeing a record 42 applications per job – up 105% year-on-year. This may sound like good news, but with less vacancies it has meant companies are obliged to compete more ferociously than ever for the best talent. On top of that, many of the companies we talk to ourselves find that shortlisting such high numbers of candidates is extremely time consuming and detracts from running the business at this critical time.
Of course, for these reasons we strongly recommend working with a recruitment agency. For our part, PA Business Support will give you an edge over your competition. It’s our job to find you the best talent and to make sure that your vacancies appear as attractive and enticing as possible. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years (between us) – take a look at some of our testimonials. With our insight and experience we’re not only able to identify the best talent for our clients’ roles, but broker the relationship in a way that appreciates the sensitive situation many applicants are in right now, by focusing on honesty, communication and respect. Still not sure about the benefits of working with an agency? See our in-depth article titled, “In 2021, why should I pay someone to do my recruiting for me, when I could do it myself?”
If you’d like to know more about partnering with PA Business Support to find the right people for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch now.

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