UK Jobs Market In Sight Of Full Recovery

Written by: Simon Lewis
Published on: 17 Jun 2011

Number of firms operating under a recruitment freeze falls by almost half as employers increase hiring, says Barclay Meade Industry Tracker


The UK jobs market is edging ever closer towards a full recovery as medium and large organisations increase hiring for the third consecutive quarter and cut recruitment freezes by almost half, according to the latest Barclay Meade ‘Tracking UK Recruitment’ quarterly report.

Businesses appear to have overcome January’s VAT hike, the severe weather at the turn of the year and the Government’s continuing austerity drive, with a return to pre-recession hiring. The number of employers recruiting at similar levels to before the financial crisis began has continued to rise for the third consecutive quarter, up to 50% in Q1 2011 from 39% in Q3 2010. Furthermore, the number of firms operating under a recruitment freeze has fallen dramatically from 24% in the final quarter of 2010 to just 13% in Q1.

Graduate and entry level candidates have benefitted most from these improvements as 30% of employers are recruiting at this level compared to just 5% in Q3 2010. This suggests more firms are looking for individuals they can mould to the needs of their business, providing hope to the growing proportion of young people who are unemployed.

The report, by professional staffing recruitment consultancy Barclay Meade – part of the AIM listed recruitment business Matchtech Group PLC – also reveals recruitment levels are continuing to rise as employers’ fears over the public sector cuts fade. In Q3 of 2010, 24% of businesses felt this was their greatest barrier to recruitment, this has fallen to just 11% in the first three months of 2011.

However, the effects of the current economic climate on the recruitment strategies of medium and large organisations in the UK are still significant, with heavy job losses expected throughout 2011, and serious concerns from employers over the rising price of fuel, it is unknown whether a recovery can be maintained long-term.

For the report, Barclay Meade interviewed managers and owners about their current recruitment plans and the landscape of their future workforce.[1] The study revealed:

  • The rising price of fuel is now the greatest concern for employers, with 22% feeling it will have the biggest negative impact on recruitment strategy over the next 12 months
  • One in five employers (20%) are troubled by a candidate skill shortage, down from 27% in Q4 of 2010. While there has been an improvement, the problem is still hindering many employers’ recruitment plans
  • A staggering 55% of employers find interview candidates are better on paper than in practice, up 10% on Q4, indicating a growing problem for businesses looking to recruit and fulfil growth strategies

The findings of the tracker are supported by the most recent Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs which revealed the number of vacancies rose at their highest rate since April 2010, making March the 18th consecutive month in which there has been an increase. Furthermore, the number of temporary/contract staff billings increased at the sharpest rate since July 2007.

Barclay Meade managing director Nigel Lynn says: “With the latest ‘Tracking UK Recruitment’ report revealing improvements in the jobs market for the third consecutive quarter, it appears the re-structuring of companies is reflecting a growing sense of confidence and optimism among employers.

“As we move further through this post-recession climate, there has been a shift towards more firms implementing and fulfilling growth strategies rather than focusing on stability and survival. This has changed the mindset of employers who realise that in order to achieve their ambitions, they will need to re-align the structure of their organisation by up-skilling their workforce and recruiting leaders who are able to deliver results.”

“All in all, we are seeing confidence return to many markets and as a result hiring strategies are changing. The permanent jobs market is very strong at the moment and there is hope that this will continue throughout 2011, helping the private sector to offset the job losses that will be ongoing in the public sector.”


Media contact:
Simon Peevers – 0117 906 4534

Email –

Notes to editors


Barclay Meade

Barclay Meade is one of the UK’s leading professional staffing recruitment agencies, specialising in accountancy, financial services, human resources, procurement, supply chain and logistics, sales, marketing and communications and executive search.

With experts across all eight fields dealing with permanent and temporary recruitment solutions on a nationwide basis, Barclay Meade listens, questions and offers advice based on client aspirations.

Barclay Meade launched in August 2010, under the Matchtech Group, and will look to excel in new markets whilst building on previous successes. Barclay Meade has five regional offices based in Southampton, London, Basingstoke, Aberdeen and St Albans.