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Employer confidence and hiring intentions hit record highs post-Covid

Date Posted: 9 February, 2022

As the economy starts to recover from the pandemic, hiring activity has picked up dramatically. Now that furlough is coming to an end and businesses get back to full strength, the jobs market is thriving. UK job vacancies are the highest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic, and employers across many industries are starting to face talent shortages.

But will this hiring trend continue, or is it an inevitable yet short-lived situation caused by UK coronavirus restrictions coming to an end?

New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) provides some good news for the recruitment sector. Its researchers have found that employer confidence is at a record high, with its hiring intentions balance up a huge +32 for the third quarter of 2021. This is the highest it’s been in nine years.

Nearly 70% of employers planning to recruit

The CIPD’s most recent Labour Market Outlook polled over 2,000 senior HR professionals and recruitment decision makers within UK companies. It found that over two-thirds are planning to hire new staff in the immediate future, a significant increase compared to the 49% who were looking to recruit this time last year.

Unsurprisingly, some industries have stronger recruitment intentions than others. Within the hospitality and entertainment sector, which is facing the most urgent labour shortages, 72% of employers are looking to hire in summer 2021. This figure has tripled since the same period in 2020, when many hospitality and arts venues were closed or operating at low capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Another industry facing an urgent staff shortage is transport and logistics, where around 65% of employers are planning to hire new workers in 2021.

The CIPD research also found that:

  • 44% of employers are planning to deal with hard-to-fill vacancies by upskilling current staff
  • 26% are looking to hire more apprentices
  • 23% are planning to increase salaries to attract the talent they need.

What will happen when the furlough scheme ends?

Jonathan Boys, the CIPD’s labour market economist, discussed the findings of the research with Specifically, he talked about what the end of the UK’s furlough scheme will mean for employers.

Explaining that employers will no longer be able to enjoy the flexibility of scaling their workforce up and down at minimum cost, Boys warned that critical labour shortages may emerge from September onwards:

“This will no longer be a viable strategy as the scheme winds down, so we’ll see recruitment and retention pick up the slack as employers look to plug any gaps in their workforce,”

“With difficulty finding labour in some sectors, employers will need to think more long term about how they meet skills needs. It’s important for organisations to look carefully at their recruitment and retention strategies and consider where they need to develop these,”

Work with our specialist team here at RGHfor expert recruitment support and strategy, to help your organisation find the right talent and get back on track after the coronavirus pandemic.