According to a recent report by the BBC, more than half of employees in the UK plan on hiring staff in the next three months.
The BBC referenced a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), who stated that this was the first positive sign that it had seen in a year for employment prospects. Together with recruitment firm Adecco, the CIPD surveyed 2000 firms, and of them, 56% said that they had planned to hire new staff between January and March 2021, with the strongest sectors being healthcare, finance and insurance, education and information and communications technologies.
Also coming out of the survey was that fewer companies were planning on retrenchments during this quarter, with the figure dropping from 30% to 20% compared to the previous quarter.
CIPD spokesperson Gerwyn Davies believes that these findings suggest that unemployment may be close to peak and may in fact fall short of official forecasts. He believes this may also be due to an undersupply of overseas workers.
The BBC further quoted recent unemployment rates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), being a 0.6% increase from the previous three months to 5% for the period September to November 2020, a number translating to 1.72 million people unemployed. Further statistics show that in November there were 819,000 fewer people on UK company payrolls than when the pandemic began.
Figures from the Insolvency Service show that in January approximately 292 British employers had made plans to cut jobs - the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic.
Hardest hit was the hospitality industry, with a third of job losses, followed by retail. The survey found that only 36% of hospitality employers planned on recruiting new staff.
Weekly estimates from the ONS suggest that redundancy rates in the UK peaked in September, but have since been on a downward trend. This could be attributed to the government’s furlough scheme, which is proposed to end on 30 April 2021.
The BBC stated that this furlough scheme has allowed many businesses to retain their staff by furloughing rather than making them redundant, with nearly 10 million people being furloughed between the scheme’s inception in April 2020 and December 2020.
It has been cautioned by CIPD that there could however be further redundancies in the private sector should the furlough scheme not be extended to June, or should there be further unexpected lock downs or other sudden changes.
Mr Davies was quoted as saying that it would be counterproductive if the government’s financial support wavered, particularly while many sectors of the UK economy were still in survival mode.