Contractor demand up despite Coronavirus causing employer confidence to drop

(3 minutes to read)

Many key firms in supply chains are looking to bring in flexible staff to deal with the fast-changing landscape at the onset of the crisis.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the Coronavirus crisis has had a negative impact on employers’ confidence.

Latest data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) JobsOutlook report shows that employer confidence in the UK economy has dropped by 22 percentage points between February and March, from a net figure of -1 to -23.

This was mainly driven by a dive in sentiment among small businesses in particular. Meanwhile, confidence in hiring and investment decisions fell by 21 percentage points to net: -5.

However, some employers have still been looking to bring on staff in the short term. Forecast demand for contract / temporary workers has increased from net: -2 in February to net: +13 this month, as some key firms in supply chains looked to bring in flexible staff to deal with the fast-changing landscape at the onset of the crisis.

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Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, commented, “It’s no surprise that this global pandemic has caused the UK’s labour market to stall. What we should remember is this hasn’t been caused by economic problems – it’s a deliberate choice that we’ve made to protect businesses and our fellow citizens. When the storm passes we will bounce back, and quickly.

“It has been great to see the government listen to us and others in taking bold measures to protect workers and businesses – but more needs to be done. Employers need access to government support very quickly so staff can be paid without unnecessary hurdles. We must also make sure that flexible workers are not left in the lurch – they are a vital part of the labour market, and must not be forgotten in the government’s support packages.”

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