Recruitment on rise
Firms set strongest hiring plans since Covid onset
Recruitment plans well up on a year ago
Scottish employers are reporting their strongest intentions to take on staff since the onset of the pandemic.
Just under half (45%) indicated they are looking to recruit in the first quarter of 2021, up from 41% six months ago, according to the latest CIPD/Adecco Labour Market Outlook.
Across the UK, sectors that are indicating strong hiring intentions include healthcare (80%), finance and insurance (65%), education (65%) and information and communications (67%).
However, this optimism does not extend to sectors that continue to be affected by the social distancing measures, such as hospitality (36%).
The share of Scottish companies planning to make redundancies in first quarter of 2021 is down to 10%, compared to 32% six months ago.
In the UK private sector, companies signalled more willingness to maintain their workforce, with the number of employers saying they are planning redundancies dropping from 34% to 20% compared with the last quarter.
About a quarter (27%) of UK companies surveyed in the hospitality sector indicated they are prepared to reduce their headcount further in the first quarter.
Employer confidence may be increasing due to a combination of factors, including the Brexit free trade agreement, the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to the end of April and the anticipation of economic recovery later this year.
While these are encouraging signs for the labour market in the short term, the uncertainty around future restrictions and government support beyond April could further test business confidence in the medium-term.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is therefore urging the government to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until at least the end of June to help support sectors most affected by the restrictions.
Lee Ann Panglea, head of CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
“This is the first time since the onset of the pandemic that there is some cause for optimism across the labour market in Scotland.
“Fewer organisations are planning redundancies and there has been an uptick in those who intend to hire staff too. However, it is far too soon to rule out a relapse of redundancies in the second half of the year if the UK Government does not extend the furlough scheme to the end of June.
“It would be disappointing to see the success of the huge level of government support falter at this stage.”