Senior executives plan to increase or maintain current staff levels over the next six months finds new research from Robert Half UK. Professionals across the financial services industry as well as those employed within the technology and accountancy professions will see strong job prospects as the UK economy continues to gain momentum.
More than four in 10 (41%) senior financial services executives are planning to recruit new permanent, professional-level staff in the first half of 2014, with a further 53% maintaining current levels. With a mere 3% planning to decrease levels, executives are upbeat, with the vast majority (90%) remaining confident in their company’s growth prospects compared with last year. This compares to 75% during the same period twelve months ago.
When asked for the top three reasons behind planned increases in the number of permanent financial services professionals, nearly two-thirds (63%) selected new projects/ initiatives as their top priority for hiring. This was followed by new market penetration (61%) and product or service expansion (34%).
Looking at technology professionals, more than a quarter (27%) of leaders plan to add new IT positions to their workforce during the first six months of 2014, with six in 10 (63%) filling vacated positions. Compared to the same period to last year, just 3% plan to reduce headcount versus 9% during the first half in 2013, showing a vast improvement on redundancies within the IT profession.
When asked how confident they are in their own company’s growth prospects in the forthcoming year, a net 75% of executives said they were either very or somewhat confident, with a net 76% saying they were confident in the UK’s economic prospects in the forthcoming year.
Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: "Many firms have found it challenging to maintain a consistent recruitment process. Demand outweighs supply in certain areas and additional job creation has resulted in many firms looking to attract top talent from competing businesses. The most sought-after candidates are attending numerous interviews and, in some cases, receiving multiple offers. There has been a re-emergence of individuals accepting last-minute counteroffers as employers try to retain talent, especially given the risk to projects as well as the cost of replacement hires.”
Optimism in the business climate is on the rise, with more than eight in 10 (83% net) executives expressing confidence in the UK’s domestic growth prospects, up 13 percentage points from the first half of last year. Looking at their own company’s projections, nearly nine in 10 (86%) are confident – up from 84% this time last year – suggesting a firm’s own combination of strategies, leadership and procedures can offset other macroeconomic factors.