Staying the course: CBI/Harvey Nash employment trends survey Autumn 2011

Staying the course: CBI/Harvey Nash employment trends survey Autumn 2011
Document type
Corporate author(s)
Confederation of British Industry
Date of publication
1 November 2011
Employment Trends Survey
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business, People management: all aspects of managing people
Business and management
Material type

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This report presents the findings of the Autumn 2011 employment trends survey, conducted between August and September 2011 with 462 respondents from all sizes and sectors of the economy. The survey shows that jobs are being created across the private sector, led by small and medium-sized companies, but that pay restraint remains the norm, with nearly half of all firms planning a below-inflation pay award or targeted pay rises. However, there is a marked difference between permanent and temporary recruitment with prospects for temps deteriorating significantly ahead of the October introduction of the Agency Workers Directive. Looking at the outlook for recruitment in more detail, the survey found that:

  • 47% of employers are predicting their workforces will be larger in a year and 19% predict they will be smaller, giving a balance of +28%. This rises to +35% in firms with fewer than 250 employees.
  • Only 7% of firms are operating a recruitment freeze, compared with 61% during the depths of the recession in 2009.
  • Ahead of the introduction of the Agency Workers Directive, just 16% of employers are planning an increase in the use of temps, and 20% a reduction, giving a balance of -4%. 
  • Prospects for graduates are slowly starting to improve, with a balance of +11% of firms planning to take on more university leavers in the next six months.

On pay,the survey shows that restraint remains essential in these challenging economic times, helping preserve jobs and keeping companies competitive. Among the findings are:

  • 67% of respondents are not planning to match or exceed inflation (RPI) at the next pay review
  • Where pay rises are planned nearly half (49%) of employers are opting for a general increase below the rate of inflation or targeted awards for some members of staff
  • 12% of all firms are planning a pay freeze at the next review, compared to 55% in 2009, and pay freezes are concentrated among those firms with fewer than 50 employees (33%).

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