The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Recruitment Outlook (QRO), in partnership with Totaljobs, is the UK’s largest independent survey of labour market conditions, based on more than 7,400 responses from businesses across the UK.

The report’s findings reveal the impact Coronavirus has had on the jobs market, with the two organisations calling for further action from government to protect businesses and jobs. 29% of businesses expect to decrease the size of their workforce in the next three months before the government’s Job Retention Scheme ends, the highest on record. 59% will keep headcount the same and just 12% will look to increase the size of their workforce.
BCC and Totaljobs have called on the government for further action to limit the damage to the UK labour market, including reducing the overall cost of employment, through a temporary cut in employer National Insurance Contributions and support to upskill and reskill employees as businesses adapt to change.

Our research demonstrates the Chancellor’s focus on protecting, supporting and creating jobs is exactly what’s needed to drive the UK’s economic recovery in the coming months.

Many businesses are suffering from an historic cash crunch and reduced demand, meaning firms will still face tough decisions despite welcome interventions made in the Summer Statement.

The government should consider additional support for employers before the Autumn Budget to reduce the overall cost of employment and prevent substantial redundancies. Measures could include a temporary cut in employer National Insurance Contributions and support to upskill and reskill employees as businesses adapt to change.
The latest figures from the Quarterly Recruitment Outlook make stark reading, especially when compared to what we had grown accustomed to in previous years. It is clear that business confidence is low, with many being forced to make difficult decisions when it comes to their workforce.

However, the Chancellor’s summer statement outlined a number of measures that will not only support jobs but help create new roles in the economy and give confidence to businesses trying to plan for the future. The interim cuts in stamp duty and VAT should give the hard-hit housing and hospitality sectors a much-needed boost.
It’s clear that moving forward, adaptability remains paramount for businesses and people, with upskilling, reskilling and utilising transferable skills all key factors during this recovery period. To protect jobs and further ease the burden facing businesses, we join the British Chambers of Commerce in their call for a cut in employer National Insurance. We also urge the Chancellor to continue to consider the needs of the sectors and demographics most impacted by Covid-19, to protect people’s livelihoods and help the jobs market and wider economy pick up.

Read the full report here

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