The quarterly Labour Market Outlook, produced in partnership with Adecco 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 is the world’s leading HR solutions company. We believe in making the future work for everyone, and every day enable more than 3.5 million careers. 

We skill, develop, and hire talent in 60 countries, enabling organisations to embrace the future of work. As a Fortune Global 500 company, we lead by example, creating shared value that fuels economies and builds better societies.

Our culture of inclusivity, entrepreneurship and teamwork empowers our 35,000 employees. We are proud to have been consistently ranked one of the 'World's Best Workplaces' by Great Place to Work®.

The Adecco Group AG is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN). The Group is powered by three global business units: Adecco, Talent Solutions and Modis.

The Adecco Group UK and Ireland head office is located in London, UK. Adecco Workforce Solutions includes Badenoch + Clark Public Sector, Adecco Retail, Adecco Specialist Markets, Adecco Solutions and Office Angels. Talent Solutions includes Badenoch + Clark Professional, General Assembly, Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) and Penna + Stafford Long. Modis includes Modis (Technology Solutions).

Labour Market Outlook: Winter 2020–21

Employment prospects had suffered significant impact due to the pandemic, but the figures this quarter show some positive signs of recovery. While factors relating to the ongoing pandemic and Brexit could yet unsettle employer confidence, recruitment intentions are on the rise while redundancy intentions have dropped sharply since the previous quarter.

The overall picture on pay remains subdued with median basic pay increase expectations staying at 1%. But behind this net figure is a dramatic reversal of recent trends: pay expectations in the private sector has shot up from 0% last quarter to 1.5%, while the public sector went the opposite way from 2% to 0%.

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Summer 2020 labour demand

Net employment balance back to positive

The net employment score, which measures the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase staff levels and those who expect to decrease staff levels, has risen to +11 from –1 last quarter. This is the first time since the pandemic that the figure has entered positive territory.

Summer 2020 labour demand

Employment confidence varying by sector

There is a large variation across sectors in terms of employment confidence. It is highest in healthcare (+40), ICT (+30) and business services (+23). In contrast, net employment intentions remain subdued in hospitality (–6), finance and insurance (+2) and administration and support service activities (+2).

Summer 2020 labour demand

Contrast between nations and regions

In the nations and regions, employer confidence is highest in the north-west (+20) and the south-west (+19) of England. By contrast, it is lowest in the West Midlands (+2) and Scotland (+4).

Summer 2020 labour demand

Sharp decline in redundancy intentions

Redundancy intentions have fallen sharply over the quarter. 20% of organisations expect to make some redundancies in the next 3 months, down from 30% in the autumn. The drop was steepest in the private sector – falling from 34% last quarter to 20%.

Summer 2020 labour demand

Pay trend reversal in private and public sectors

While median basic pay increase expectations remain at 1%, this quarter has seen a dramatic trend reversal between the private and public sectors. Pay expectations in the private sector has shot up from 0% last quarter to 1.5%, while the public sector backtracked from 2% to 0%. Pay expectations in the voluntary sector fell slightly from 1.7% to 1.4%.

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