2013 - What’s on the horizon for businesses?

Recruitment looks set to be a hot issue in 2013.  Businesses have weathered another difficult year with some sectors enjoying marked increases in recruitment, while others have either flat lined or have had to cut back. 2013

The jobs market has certainly displayed Jekyll and Hyde characteristics in 2012.  Businesses have had to decipher whether to anticipate growth and press the “invest in recruitment” button, or deal with a contraction in market conditions and freeze or cut headcount.

While we are by no means out of the woods, 2013 should show some encouraging signs in the jobs market.  The Recruitment and Employment Confederation recently highlighted that over half of employers plan to increase their permanent workforce in the next three months, and 41 per cent plan to maintain their permanent workforce.  What is also encouraging is that 99 per cent intend to either increase or maintain their permanent headcount in the next 12 months.

The outlook looks encouraging across the temporary market too.  The latest REC monthly report on jobs boasted the fastest rate of growth in temporary billings in 18 months.  From our own experience sectors enjoying growth include IT, medical, healthcare and oil and gas.

One area to watch with particular interest in 2013 is recruitment in the SME sector.  According to ECI Partners, their latest annual survey cited 78% of those company directors asked were anticipating to “add to their headcount”.    This is an encouraging sign but is tinged with their concern of lack of access to skilled labour hindering their growth.   Attracting and retaining high calibre staff remains a key issue for British businesses.  SMEs are the biggest employer in the UK and their potential needs to be unlocked and allowed to flourish and grow.

The flexibility of the UK workforce will remain a hugely influential factor in 2013.  The World Economic Forum cited this as one of the key advantages in the UK’s level of competitiveness.   Businesses must be fleet footed, especially in the current economic environment, to compete in national and international markets.  So, having access to flexible recruitment options will underpin this competitiveness, which has to be a good thing.

Employment legislation and compliance remains high on the agenda.  2011 saw the introduction of Agency Worker Regulations, which impacted on many but not all businesses, and 2013 will usher in the auto enrolment company pensions schemes for all UK businesses.

What would be on my wish list for 2013? An environment for businesses to flourish and grow, which will stimulate job creation.  One thing I am sure of, though, is that it will be another challenging year.