UK employers turn much more confident about hiring - REC

FILE PHOTO: A person looks at the adverts in the window of a job agency in London, Britain October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - British employers are turning much more confident about hiring staff as the country speeds ahead with its coronavirus vaccination programme, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said confidence in hiring rose six percentage points to a net level of +16 in the three months to February 2021.

In February alone, it jumped to +29.

“Recruiters report that this latest lockdown has been much less damaging than many feared back in January,” Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said.

“There is still widespread pessimism about the wider economy, but that may be because respondents fear for sectors that have been shut down during lockdown.”

Employers were relying mostly on temporary hiring, a sign of caution about the outlook, and there were concerns about shortages of construction workers, the REC said.

The Bank of England said last month Britain’s unemployment rate would probably peak at 7.75% in the middle of this year - up from its most recent reading of 5.0% - but Governor Andrew Bailey said earlier this month that forecast might be lowered.

On March 3 finance minister Rishi Sunak extended his job-protecting furlough scheme until the end of September.

Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce