Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Contractor Umbrella News: Recruitment up, but still below pre-Covid levels

Latest findings have revealed that 37% of businesses attempted to recruit in Q3, which is higher than the historic low (25%) seen in Q2 of this year.

The Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO), carried out in August and September by the British Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Totaljobs, found that firms within construction (48%) and transport/distribution (44%) were among those most likely to recruit.

Unsurprisingly given the current circumstances, hotels and catering firms (30%) were the least likely to take on additional staff.

BCC Director General, Adam Marshall, commented, “Our results continue to highlight big shifts in the UK labour market as a result of the pandemic. Despite some gains compared to the historic plunge in recruitment in the Spring, we are still a long way from the healthy jobs market we saw prior to the Covid crises.

“Given the scale of the challenge, it is vital that business and government work together on re-training and re-skilling the UK workforce. Governments across the UK will have to make sustained investments in retraining schemes for people of all ages to help them stay in and progress in the job market. The kickstart Scheme, where Chambers are already working hard to connect local employers with young people, and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee are two pieces of a very big jigsaw.

“The recent changes to the Job Support Scheme represent a significant improvement in the support available to businesses struggling with the impact of increasing restrictions across the UK. However, the true test of these reforms will be whether they help businesses on the ground get through the difficult months ahead. Chambers of Commerce will continue to work with the Treasury to ensure that support is responsive and preserves businesses and livelihoods.”

Jon Wilson, Totaljobs CEO, added, “While we’ve seen increased activity on Totaljobs from businesses actively recruiting, the Q3 QRO data highlights how the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been vastly different across industries and business sizes. It’s positive to see numbers moving in the right direction for the many SMEs that contributed to this research. However, it’s no surprise that the UK market is yet to close the gap created by the pandemic – and with renewed restrictions this winter, clearly we’re not out of the woods yet.”

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