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The quarterly Labour Market Outlook, produced in partnership with the The Adecco Group UK & Ireland is one of the most authoritative employment indicators in the UK and provides forward-looking labour market data and analysis on employers’ recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions.

The Adecco Group UK&I and its brands are part of the Adecco Group, the world’s leading HR solutions partner. As a Group, we provide more than 700,000 people with permanent and flexible employment every day. With more than 34,000 employees in 60 countries – 3,100 in the UK&I – we transform the world of work one job at a time. Our colleagues serve more than 100,000 organisations with the talent, HR services and cutting-edge technology they need to succeed in an ever-changing global economy. As a Fortune Global 500 company, we lead by example, creating shared value that meets social needs while driving business innovation. Our culture of inclusivity, fairness and teamwork empowers individuals and organisations, fuels economies, and builds better societies. These values resonate with our employees, who voted us number 5 on the Great Place to Work® - World’s Best Workplaces 2018 list. We make the future work for everyone. 

The Adecco Group is based in Zurich, Switzerland. Adecco Group AG is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN). The Group is powered by nine lead brands: Adecco, Modis, Badenoch & Clark, Spring Professional, Lee Hecht Harrison, Pontoon, Adia, General Assembly and YOSS.  

The Adecco Group UK&I’s head office is located in London, UK. We have 11 brands, including the Adecco Group UK&I, Adecco, Adia, Ajilon, Badenoch & Clark, Modis, Office Angels, Penna, Pontoon, Roevin and Spring.

Labour Market Outlook: Summer 2020

Reflecting the worsening economic situation due to the pandemic, around one in three organisations expect to cut jobs over the next three months as the proportion of employers looking to make redundancies increases this quarter.

Hiring intentions are slowly beginning to rise, but remain well below levels seen in previous years. Employment confidence is at an all-time low for the survey: this quarter marks the lowest net employment balance on record when using current methods. 

Employers also intend to keep a tight handle on pay increases over the next 12 months, especially in the private sector. This pay slowdown may be an important factor in limiting large scale job cuts, as was the case in the last recession.  

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Summer 2020 redundancies


The proportion of employers intending to make redundancies over the next three months has increased to 33%, rising 11% since last quarter. This jump reflects the worsening economic landscape and clarity over the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

The average direct cost to employers in making a redundancy is £11,125.

Summer 2020 labour demand

Labour demand

Overall, employment demand is down this quarter compared to Spring 2020. The net employment figure – which measures the proportion of employers planning to increase or decrease staffing levels – dropped from -4 to -8. This is the lowest figure recorded since the survey was conducted using its current methods, and is a sharp contrast to the +21 recorded in the Winter 2019/20 report.

However, the net employment score remained high in sectors such as healthcare (+30) and public administration (+13). It was lowest in hospitality (-26), transport and storage (-24), and retail (-23).

Summer 2020 pay expectations

Pay expectations

Median basic pay increase expectations for the next 12 months remain low as employers look to streamline business costs. This is unchanged from last quarter at 1%.

In the private sector, basic pay expectations were 0.8%, while in the public sector they were 1.7%.

40% of private sector firms expect to freeze pay over the next 12 months. 

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