Jobs market ‘softening’ as firms face ‘harsher conditions in 2017 and beyond

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Most employers expect economic conditions to be more challenging this year amid signs that the jobs market is slowing, research shows.

A survey of recruitment agencies found that only one in five employers planned to increase permanent staff in the next three months, down from 24% last month.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said its poll of 600 employers predicted a “softening” of hiring in the short term.

Demand for permanent staff has fallen in all sectors except health and social care and education, said the report.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “Hirers are already finding it difficult to fill vacancies and this will intensify.

“The UK is at near-full employment and the available talent pool is shrinking.

“Economic volatility could make individuals more hesitant about moving jobs this year, which would add to the problem.

“With the Government confirming that employers will have to contend with new immigration controls when we leave the EU, organisations in sectors which are reliant upon workers from Europe will have to adapt quickly to survive.

“It’s difficult to see how the NHS will cope when access to nurses from Europe is curtailed.

“Likewise, businesses in construction, agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing will need to face up to harsher conditions in 2017 and beyond.”