Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

UK Employers Feeling Cautiously Optimistic About Hiring in the Next 12 Months

An improving global economy has triggered a renewed sense of optimism in UK hiring plans over the next year. Thirty-nine per cent of UK employers reported they plan to hire full-time workers in the next 12 months

An improving global economy has triggered a renewed sense of optimism in UK hiring plans over the next year. Thirty-nine per cent of UK employers reported they plan to hire full-time workers in the next 12 months. Twenty-six per cent plan to add part-time help while 21 percent expect to employ contract or temporary workers. The study was conducted by from 29 April to 7 May on behalf of and included more than 100 UK business leaders across industries.

“Companies are starting to change their focus from cost cutting to growth and they’re bringing back those areas most closely tied to revenue first,” said Farhan Yasin, President of CareerBuilder EMEA. “We expect to see gradual improvements in hiring in the second half of 2010 and into 2011, rather than a dramatic shift. Employers will remain cautious as they respond to new market dynamics.”

Top Functional Areas for Hiring

Sales is the top area where UK employers said they will add jobs first with 46 per cent planning to recruit new sales employees in the next 12 months. Other key areas include:

  • Customer Service – 22 per cent

  • Information Technology – 22 per cent

  • Adminstrative – 22 per cent

  • Accounting/Finance – 16 per cent

  • Marketing – 14 per cent


More than half of UK employers (57 per cent) reported that pay will be the same for new employees in the next 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. Twenty-eight percent expect it will be higher while 2 percent anticipate it will be lower than the previous 12 months. Others declined to answer.

Skills Shortage

Despite having an abundant labour pool to choose from, 28 per cent of companies reported they currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. Sixty-two per cent believe there is a national skills shortage.

“As the country’s financial health improves and the labour market recovers, you may see an even bigger gap between talent supply and demand in specialized areas,” said Yasin. “Employers are taking measures today to improve their talent benches and retain top performers through investing more in training, flexible work arrangements and new recruitment strategies.”

Seven Mid-Year Employment Trends

1. Hiring across borders – One-in-four employers (25 per cent) have hired someone from outside their country in the last 12 months. More than half (55 per cent) said they had not hired someone from outside their country, but would be willing to do so. The functional areas for which employers are primarily recruiting outside of their country are in business development, accounting/finance, information technology and communications.

2. Rehiring laid off workers – Of employers who reported they had layoffs in the last 12 months, nearly one-third (32 percent) said they have already begun or are in the process of hiring back employees.

3. Freezing compensation – Forty-five per cent of employers have instituted a pay freeze in the last 12 months to manage through a tough economy.

4. Upgrading talent – Nearly one-in-five employers (19 per cent) are taking this time, when there is a larger pool of available talent, to strengthen their teams by replacing lower-performing employees with top performers.

5. Offering more flexibility – In an effort to retain and attract workers, 61 per cent of employers said they will be offering flexible work arrangements for employees this year. Alternate schedules (ex: start and leave early) and compressed workweeks (work the same hours, but in less days) are among measures being employed.

6. Investing in professional development – Nearly two-in-five employers (39 per cent) are investing more in outside training for employees to sharpen skill sets and provide learning opportunities that are in demand.

7. Postponed start dates – employers are securing talent early while postponing expenses associated with additional headcount. One-in-ten (11 per cent) have offered jobs with start dates later in the year.

Survey Methodology

An online survey of more than 500 business leaders in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden was conducted in a range of organizations between 29 April and 7 May. Business leaders included C-level executives, directors and senior managers with recruitment responsibilities. The survey was conducted online by Shape the Future (, a market research agency based near London which specialises in high speed online research.

The total sample size in the UK was 106, giving a margin of error of 9.52 per cent at 95 per cent confidence. The survey was conducted strictly according to the code of conduct of the UK’s Market Research Society.