UK feels under worked despite surge in hiring

THE PLUNGE in unemployment numbers is set to keep on going after research released today showed firms have the strongest intentions to hire than at any time in the last six and a half years.

A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that 26 per cent more companies expect to expand rather than shrink their workforce, the largest balance in favour of hiring since late 2007.

But the rapidly improving employment prospects do not show the full picture, according to data firm Markit. The group says that a third of British workers feel under-employed, believing that their employers are not pushing them to fulfil their potential. When asked if they would like to work more hours, 40 per cent say yes.

The trend is less true in finance and business services, where the largest proportion of people think they are overworked. Fewer than 15 per cent of workers in the sector say they could do more work with little effort, and more than a quarter say they have too much work to do.

“The survey also comes at a time when recruitment agencies are reporting that the availability of staff to fill vacant positions is deteriorating at its fastest rate for ten years. This suggests that there is a widespread mismatch between the skills and abilities that employees have and those required by employers,” said Markit’s chief economist, Chris Williamson.

The CIPD’s survey also points towards the same trend: two in five firms report that they have vacancies which are difficult to fill, particularly for engineers.

“While skills shortages are still relatively concentrated in particular sectors and occupations in the domestic labour market, and pay continues to perform well below pre-recession levels, there is a danger that this may change if the labour market continues to tighten,” said Gerwyn Davies, CIPD’s labour market adviser.