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Round-up of the week

Posted on 26th February 2016

8 in 10 businesses plan to hire more permanent staff

Most businesses in the UK intend to take on more permanent members of staff in the next three months, a new survey has revealed.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), 82 per cent of businesses plan to expand their workforce during this time.

This comes after a period in which many firms have already increased their headcount. Figures showed that 29 per cent have hired more staff over the last year, which has led to the UK's employment rate reaching a record high of 74.1 per cent.

However, the REC suggested that employers could find it increasingly difficult to secure the right people.

Nearly half of those polled said they have offered staff pay rises over the last year in order to attract and retain the best workers.

The survey also showed that demand for temporary workers has also risen, with 90 per cent of firms turning to them to provide key strategic skills, and 58 per cent using them to respond to growth, as there are fewer permanent candidates on the market.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, commented: "Options are running out for organisations that want to take on more staff. 

"SMEs and big businesses are both feeling the pressure. The need for people to do the jobs available is driving firms to become more innovative and creative in their recruitment strategies.   

Business responds to EU referendum announcement

After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that the UK is to hold a referendum on whether or not to remain a member of the European Union (EU) on June 23rd.

Prime minister David Cameron unveiled the renegotiated terms of Britain's continued membership this week and said the electorate would be given a chance to approve or reject them.

The deal has been welcomed by many key figures in the UK business community, with the CBI suggesting it could be a "major step forward" on the path towards a more competitive and prosperous future.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the body, commented: "Being part of the Single Market guarantees businesses tariff-free access to 500 million consumers in Europe and is a cornerstone of the UK’s economic success.

"These reforms protect the UK’s place and influence inside this important market and a renewed focus on EU competitiveness will help British firms succeed in creating jobs and economic growth at home in the years ahead."

Ms Fairbairn went on to state that most CBI members believe being in a reformed EU will be better for growth, jobs and prosperity.

The organisation will now consult its members to gauge sentiment now that details of the reforms have been published.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has revealed that six in ten business leaders in the UK will vote to stay in the EU.

Members of the group largely backed efforts to reduce red tape, as well as confirmation that the UK would not be pulled into a closer union with the EU. 

Simon Walker, director-general of the IoD, said: "The prime minister has fought hard for this deal and has secured positive changes, in particular on reducing the burden of pointless or excessive red tape. Businesses will weigh up the reforms when considering the pros and cons of EU membership as they decide how to vote at the referendum."