More than half of East of England employers to expand their workforce this year - CBI

Richard Tunnicliffe,director of CBI East of England.

Richard Tunnicliffe,director of CBI East of England.

More than half of employers in the East of England plan to expand their workforce this year, a new survey by the CBI and Accenture suggests.

And the creation of permanent jobs is expected to outstrip the hiring of temporary workers, according to the latest CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey.

Out of around 100 businesses that employ people in the region and which responded to the survey, 55% expect their workforce to grow over the next year.

Two out of five firms (40%) plan to increase their permanent posts and 28% to take on more temporary workers.

Job prospects for young people have also improved with many of these firms planning to recruit graduates and apprentices.

Nearly half (48%) expect to increase their apprenticeship intake and the same percentage aim to recruit higher numbers of graduates. Four out of five employers (83%) anticipate having roles suitable for young people aged 16 to 24 who are seeking work.

Richard Tunnicliffe, director of CBI East of England, said: “Firms in the East of England are gearing up for a positive 2015 with over half planning to create jobs, most of which will be permanent.

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“Young people should find more chances to get a foot on the career ladder this year, with many firms looking to boost their intake of graduates and apprentices.

“We want to see everyone enjoy the rewards of the recovery and the East of England has a big role in driving the UK economy forward. Growth should work for everyone, and skills are the key route to ensuring that this happens through improved productivity and pay.”

Olly Benzecry, managing director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland, said: “It’s important that growth works for everyone, which means regions throughout the UK benefitting from the economic recovery and employers opening up different and more inclusive routes into their workforces.

“It’s very encouraging to hear that businesses in the East of England are planning to build their workforces in the future by taking on more young people, including apprentices.

“It is also good to note that, within this mix, companies are recognising that they can enhance their competitiveness by harnessing the digital capabilities of these young people.”

Nationally, the survey indicates that 43% of firms are planning a pay rise in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI). There has been a small increase in the proportion of companies expecting to pay above RPI when compared with last year’s survey, at 12% compared to 7%.

Low level of skills (63%), closely followed by the burden of employment regulation (61%), are seen as the greatest workforce threats to UK competitiveness, and most respondents (54%) believe this will still be the case in five years’ time.