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UK firms report strongest employment intentions since start of pandemic

Employers in the UK are reporting their strongest hiring intentions since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the latest data from CIPD/Adecco’s Labour Market Outlook, the share of businesses planning to recruit is set to rise to 56% in the first quarter, pushing the UK economy close to its unemployment peak.

The survey of 2,000 employers, taken online between 5 and 30 January, showed that the net employment intentions figure – which measures the difference between the proportion of employers expecting to add jobs and those planning to cut positions – rose to +11 for the first three months of 2021 – its highest in a year. This compares to -1 in the previous quarter.

Over half of those surveyed indicated they are looking to recruit in the first quarter, up from 53% in the previous quarter and 49% six months ago. This is down from 66% during the same period last year.

Sectors that are indicating strong hiring intentions include healthcare, finance and insurance, education, and information and communications. However, this optimism does not extend to sectors that continue to be affected by the social distancing measures, such as hospitality.

The share of organisations planning to make redundancies in the first quarter fell from 30% to 20% compared with the previous quarter.

In the private sector, companies were more willing to maintain their workforce, with the number of employers planning redundancies dropping from 34% to 20%.

However, around a quarter of companies surveyed in the hospitality sector indicated they were prepared to reduce their headcount further in the first quarter. Read from source….