In its annual survey, the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) annual survey of employment trends revealed 41% of firms across the UK – including food and drink manufacturers – will expand their workforces in 2017.
Permanent job opportunities will also overtake temporary recruitment for the fourth year running, the study disclosed.
However, the survey revealed overall confidence in the labour market had dropped since last year – half of firms (50%) believed the UK will become less attractive to hire from over the next five years.
CBI deputy-director general Josh Hardie said there were record employment levels, more people in work and a strong UK labour market.
‘Greater sense of concern’
“Businesses are 100% committed to making the best of Brexit,” said Hardie. “However, this year’s survey does show a greater sense of concern about the UK’s long term attractiveness as a place to create jobs.
“Getting our industrial strategy right and understanding what the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be will help ensure that this worry does not negatively impact the future performance of the labour market.”
Ongoing skills gaps ranked as the most commonly cited threat to competitiveness by 64% of business surveyed and 58% said it was what they worried most about in the future.
Access to skill migrant workers was a worry for 58% or respondents, up from 31% in 2015, while 50% were concerned about access to non-graduate migrants to fill labour shortages in key sectors.
Hardie added the businesses needed the confidence that they could employ the right people at the right time.
‘Invest heavily in skills’
“[Businesses] will continue to invest heavily in skills and training, working with the government to grow the skills base needed for a thriving economy.
“But having an immigration system that provides access to both skills and labour is essential.”
CBI employment trends survey followed its monthly report on industrial trends, which revealed manufacturers had seen a growth in production.
Manufacturers also expected the plummet in the value of the pound would push up output price, as the cost of imported raw materials continued to be pushed up.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist said: “It’s good to see our manufacturers ending the year on a high note with growth in production the strongest since summer 2014 and total orders still robust.
“But this weakness of sterling is pushing up the cost of imports and our survey shows strong signs of this feeding through to higher factory gate prices.”
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- 353 companies surveyed
- 41% of firms will expand their workforce
- 50% said the UK will be less attractive to hire from in the next five years
- 58% said skills gaps were their biggest concern
- 58% said access to migrant workers was a concern