Confidence among UK employers has plunged to "an all-time low", according to a new survey that brings to light the current concerns among businesses in the run-up to Britain’s departure from the EU.
Employers’ confidence in the prospects for the UK economy fell by six percentage points last month to a net -20, marking the lowest level in the three years that the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has carried out its "Jobs Outlook" survey.
According to the figures released today, half of UK employers who hire permanent staff expressed their concern in the last three months over the sufficient availability of candidates for permanent jobs, with anticipated shortages of workers in engineering and technical industries causing most anxiety for employers.
"With only a month before Britain is due to leave the EU, businesses across the country are clear that they need clarity about the plan for after the end of March. That must mean a smooth move to a Brexit deal – not a dangerous no deal experiment," said Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.
He added: "Recruiters are helping employers to find the staff they need – especially in key sectors of shortage, like engineering, healthcare and hospitality. But with employers’ confidence levels at a low point and hiring intentions for both permanent and temporary staff dropping in today’s survey, there can no longer be any argument – uncertainty is damaging for job creation."