Thursday 5 May 2016 12:00 pm

EU referendum: Survey shows that firms will stop hiring because of vote, but only if the UK votes for Brexit

Employers say that jobs will be at risk if Britain votes to leave the European Union, but few are actually cutting back on hiring in the run-up to the vote, according to a new survey by recruitment firm Reed.

A clear majority – 85 per cent – of businesses said that the EU referendum had not affected their recruitment decisions, with 72 per cent saying that they had hired at least one member of staff since the referendum was announced.

Most businesses were also hiring more staff than they were this time last year.

Read more: Brexit would mean even more quantitative easing

The survey stands in contrast to the hat-trick of disappointing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) scores out this week showed that although firms were continuing to hire, there was a trend towards temporary employees and employment growth had begun to slow, with an increasing number of respondents to the market-moving surveys citing Brexit jitters as the behind their decision.

“While the manufacturing survey noted a decline in employment, construction and services (85 per cent of the economy) suggested employment gains continued at a subdued pace at the start of the second quarter,” said Kallum Pickering, senior UK economist at Berenberg

Read more: Brexit myths debunked by Berenberg economists

“It is undeniable that the EU referendum is weighing on investment intentions and new orders activity,” said Nandini Ramakrishnan, global market strategist at JP Morgan.

However, the Reed survey did point to a likely slowdown in hiring after the vote, if the UK does vote to leave the European Union. More than half of firms said Brexit would put jobs at risk, and another 55 per cent said foreign investment could suffer.

Dismissing the idea that leaving the EU would give the UK government the ability to control immigration and lead to better employment prospects for UK workers, 63 per cent of employers said Brexit would not mean more jobs for UK citizens.