Firms hiring again to boost future growth

WIDESPREAD recruitment freezes are now a thing of the past and firms are cautiously planning targeted hiring in the areas that will maximise growth, according to a survey published today by the CBI and recruitment consultants Harvey Nash.

The survey of more than 2,000 businesses revealed that only seven per cent of firms are currently operating a recruitment freeze compared to 61 per cent in the spring. Those that are not hiring are concentrated in the public sector and in construction.

Furthermore, almost a quarter are planning targeted recruitment in areas such as management, technical and sales. But businesses are still keeping a tight rein on costs despite a thaw in pay freezes.

Businesses are now more worried about a deterioration in employee relations. John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said: “During the recession, private sector employees adopted a can-do attitude, accepting that measures such as pay and recruitment freezes were the alternative to companies going under, and further job losses. Sustaining that spirit of co-operation will be more challenging now the immediate threat appears to have passed.”

According to Harvey Nash chief executive Albert Ellis Britain’s flexible labour market has protected the country from the worst possible effects of the recession and boosted demand for recruitment. In his view, the private sector will benefit from the increased supply caused by public sector churn.