Labour market still robust
UK firms shrug off Brexit to create more jobs
For the fourth year running, the CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey shows that growth in permanent job opportunities will outstrip temporary recruitment.
The annual survey – in its nineteenth year, with 353 respondents employing nearly 1.2 million people – found that four in ten (41%) firms across the UK will grow their workforce in the year ahead.
However, while firms are not allowing the Brexit decision to overwhelm them the uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU has shaken overall business confidence in the labour market.
Overall, the balance of respondents expecting the UK to be a more attractive place to employ people in the next five years has flipped from +16% in the 2015 survey to -21% in the year’s results.
Josh Hardie, CBI deputy-director general (pictured), said: “With record employment levels, more people than ever are now in work and the strengths of the UK labour market look set to yield positive results over the course of 2017.
“Businesses are 100% committed to making the best of Brexit. However, this year’s survey does show a greater sense of concern about the UK’s long-term attractiveness as a place to create jobs.
“Getting our industrial strategy right and understanding what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be, will help ensure that this worry does not negatively impact the future performance of the labour market.
“The Government should build on the positive moves it has already made to dispel uncertainty by drawing up plans for a smooth transition, giving firms both the time to adapt to new regulations and the confidence to invest beyond 2019.”
> Tourism, transport and communications are expected to perform well in Scotland in the next year, according to a new report.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Business Monitor quizzed 400 firms across a range of sectors and the findings contradict recent survey evidence suggesting confidence being hit by Brexit uncertainty.
The RBS survey was carried out by the Fraser of Allander Institute at Strathclyde University. A total of 36% of firms reported an increase in total volume of business during the last quarter compared with 25% which reported a fall.
Stephen Boyle, chief economist with the Royal Bank of Scotland said: “This Christmas we can raise a festive glass for Scotland’s economy that’s more than half full.
“Our businesses are ending the year on a positive note, with solid if unspectacular growth. They expect more of the same in the first half of 2017.
“Particularly encouraging is strongly-rising capital investment, a sign both of confidence in the future and of businesses’ ability to look beyond political uncertainty.
“If the New Year brings any hangovers they are likely to come from rising cost pressures – brought about by the weaker pound and the National Living Wage – and continued poor export performance.”
Prof Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “The volume of business activity is at its highest level in over a year with businesses reporting turnover at its highest level in over two years.
“That being said, expectations for turnover and investment are down on the quarter suggesting that the outlook for 2017, whilst improved, remains uncertain.”