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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Four in 10 UK firms set to grow their workforce next year

The UK labour market will see jobs growth continue in 2017, with 41% of employers intending to increase their workforce according to a joint survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Pertemps Network Group.

Labour market set to yield positive results in 2017 ©Shutterstock
Labour market set to yield positive results in 2017 ©Shutterstock

Their annual Employment Trends Survey found that, for the fourth year running, permanent job opportunities will outstrip temporary recruitment, with the positive balance of firms expecting to add employees, over those planning to shed jobs, standing at +28%.

However confidence in the future of the labour market has been damaged following the country’s decision to leave the EU, with the number of businesses expecting the UK to be a more attractive place to employ people in the next five years flipping from +16% in 2015, to -21% in 2016.

CBI deputy-director general, Josh Hardie, 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.”

With the apprenticeship levy starting next year, the survey, which involved 353 respondents, who collectively employ nearly 1.2 million people, found that a positive balance of +26% plan to expand their apprentice recruitment numbers next year, up from +19% last year.

However despite this commitment to training, 64% of firms see a gap in skills as the biggest threat to competitiveness, with half of this year’s respondents concerned about access to non-graduate migrants.

“Businesses will continue to invest heavily in skills and training, working with the government to grow the skills base needed for a thriving economy,” Hardie continued.

“But having an immigration system that provides access to both skills and labour, whilst addressing the public’s concerns is essential.

“As we enter a new phase of UK-EU relations, it is imperative that employers are supported effectively so our labour market continues to perform. 

“There is a clear opportunity for the government to work in partnership with business to position the UK as an attractive global hub and strong economy.”