UK employers’ confidence in economy in negative territory

Businesses still hiring but issues like access to labour and Brexit talks creating nervousness

 Anti-Brexit  group The No 10 Vigil sailing a boat  up the Thames in London on August 19th. The group  is  campaigning  for the UK’s continued membership in the EU. Photograph: EPA/Tolga Akmen

Anti-Brexit group The No 10 Vigil sailing a boat up the Thames in London on August 19th. The group is campaigning for the UK’s continued membership in the EU. Photograph: EPA/Tolga Akmen

 

Employers’ confidence in the UK economy has moved into negative territory, prompting warnings over the impact of Brexit.

A new survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) found 31 per cent of employers expect the UK’s economy to worsen, compared with 28 per cent which expect it to improve.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said the drop “should raise a red flag” as he urged the British government to give greater clarity over Brexit.

The REC survey found UK employers are still looking to hire, with one in five planning to increase permanent headcount in the next three months.

Confidence in making hiring and investment decisions remains positive, with a net balance of 10 per cent, but is at its lowest for the past year.

The survey of 601 UK employers also shows more employers express concerns about a lack of appropriate candidates for construction jobs than any other area.

“The jobs market continues to do well despite growing uncertainty. However, this drop in employer confidence should raise a red flag,” said Mr Green.

Access to labour

“Businesses are continuing to hire to meet demand, but issues like access to labour, Brexit negotiations and political uncertainty are creating nervousness.”

He said dropping consumer confidence was also putting some businesses on edge, adding: “The government must do more to create an environment where businesses have clarity.

“That means clearly laying out what Brexit plans look like, and how employers can keep recruiting the people they need from the EU. The jobs market is in a good place, but employers will only continue to hire and invest if they feel assured about the future.” – (PA)