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Businesses looking to recruit

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Figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) have indicated that a number of private sector employers intend to boost their workforces early in 2011.

The REC’s latest Jobs Outlook survey has revealed that one in four of employers who responded have plans to recruit new workers during next year.

In addition to the 23 per cent of businesses intending to take on more permanent staff in 2011, a further 32 per cent said they would be increasing the number of temporary employees on their books.

Only five per cent of employers were predicting a decrease in their workforce numbers.

Optimism, the REC said, should be tempered, however, by the impact of public sector job cuts.

The survey showed that 40 per cent of public sector employers expect an adverse effect on employment.  

As a result, the REC forecast that unemployment will rise from 2.47 million to 2.65 million by mid-2011.

Although increasing employer confidence will lead to more opportunities in the private sector, the balance will not be strong enough to compensate for a slowdown in the overall jobs market in the short term. The REC’s assessment is that unemployment will peak at 8.4 per cent in late 2011.

Kevin Green, the REC’s chief executive, commented: “The outlook for the UK jobs market is mixed but there is scope for cautious optimism. The increasing employer confidence is a good sign and the feedback from professional recruiters confirms that fluidity is returning to many sectors of the labour market. Demand for staff is likely to continue expanding in areas such as financial services, export-focused industries and knowledge intensive sectors such as technology and pharmaceuticals.

“Businesses are also looking to build greater flexibility into their resourcing which will provide temporary and contact work opportunities. Overall, we expect the jobs market to remain in recovery mode for the early part of the year, with a more marked upturn during the second half of 2011.”