Earlier this year, some 16,141,241 of my fellow countrymen (or 48% of voters) didn’t think Brexit was a good idea and voted ‘remain’. But the majority voted to leave the European Union, prompting many economists to predict an immediate and significant impact on the UK economy. However, the latest figures show that the UK is still very much open for business and trading on. Certainly the jobs market is largely unaffected, with many recruitment agencies reporting a shortage of good candidates as the biggest issue in their respective fields.
The gross domestic product (GDP) is the main indicator for economic performance. So the latest figures for Quarter 3 should go some way to silencing the Brexit doom-mongers as it is estimated to have still increased by 0.5% from July to Sept 2016, which followed 0.7% growth in Quarter 2 (April to June) 2016. Moreover, the GDP was 2.3% higher in Quarter 3 2016 compared with the same quarter a year ago. Not life changing maybe, but definitely so far, so good.
Commenting on these figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Recruitment & Employment Confederation Chief Executive, Kevin Green, said “the figures show that so far the economy has been broadly unaffected by the EU referendum result.” This confirms the trends seen in their data, with employers seemingly maintaining a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude, for the time being at least.
According to the latest Jobs Outlook survey, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of UK employers plan to take on more permanent staff in the next three months, with only three percent planning a reduction in their permanent workforce. Kevin went on to say that “the latest official figures show that employment remains at a record high. Our data suggests that this positive trend is set to continue, with employers actively looking to take on more staff in the last quarter of the year. Small businesses in particular are performing well and are seeking to grow.”
Reports show that demand for both permanent and temporary staff in the UK is at its highest since May, and the volume of permanent placements made by Recruitment Consultants increased for the third month in a row in October. The rate of growth has increased to its fastest in eight months. The data showed that around 40% of survey respondents reported an increase in placements, compared to 29% that saw a fall. Although working hard to achieve their numbers, agencies reported that improved demand and new clients were essential factors in boosting the number of placements in the latest survey period.
They also reported that invoicing increased again in October, thereby extending the current trend to three and a half years. Moreover, the rate of expansion strengthened to a five month record. This increase in candidate appointments was supported by the rise in employee vacancies during the latest survey period, seeing the Jobs Vacancy Index rise from 56.9 in September to a five-month high of 59.4 last month.
Here at Aston Charles, we have found that the General Insurance and Financial Services markets in particular, have shown no signs of slowing down, with our Consultants working harder than ever to meet client demands. Our Managing Director, James Heald, has only one frustration, “There is a lack of high calibre candidates actively seeking new employment at the moment, but thankfully, our knowledge and proficiency pays dividends at times like this, and we continue to enjoy real growth. We have certainly seen an increase in enquiries from new clients, as our reputation as industry experts grows apace.”
With article 50 yet to be triggered, it’s still not clear what the long term impact of Brexit will be. Voters across the pond could well have some baring on confidence in the UK markets making these, undoubtedly, anxious times for all. Perhaps the solution for dear old Blighty is to do what we really do best: