Four in ten employers (39 per cent) have ‘no capacity’ to take on more work without more staff, and a further 56 per cent have only ‘a little’ capacity, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
The latest data shows another month-on-month increase in the number of employers saying they need to take on more staff to meet growing demand. Since August 2014, the proportion of employers with limited or no capacity has increased by 5 percentage points (from 90 to 95 per cent), and in the same period the number of employers reporting ‘a fair amount’ of spare capacity has halved from 10 per cent in August 2014, to just 5 per cent in February 2015.
This month’s survey also found that almost eight out of ten employers (79 per cent) plan to hire more permanent staff in the next three months. A further 13 per cent intend to maintain current staffing numbers and only 8 per cent indicate they will reduce their headcount.
Twenty-four per cent of employers highlighted an anticipated shortage of temporary workers with technical and engineering skills (19 per cent share that worry for permanent workers).
REC chief executive Kevin Green said:
“We heard a lot in last week’s Budget that confirms what employers are saying to us; that confidence is returning to the market and that businesses are seeking to take advantage of increasing demand. The government also announced new investment in infrastructure and transport initiatives, which is a further sign of the strengthening economy.
“Questions remain however about where employers will find the skilled workers to carry out these projects, and to respond to growth. Employers are already reporting talent shortages in key industries like engineering, IT and construction. Fixing this needs to be a priority for the next government so that the UK can continue to prosper. That means a sensible approach to immigration so that businesses have access to the talent they need today, while the government improves careers advice in schools and encourages more young people to study the right subjects.
“Recruiters also have a major part to play in connecting employers to untapped talent pools, such as the 1 million older workers who are not currently employed, and who could provide the skills and experience that employers are looking for.”
WEST Yorkshire and York's six council leaders have given their backing to the introduction of the Living Wage.
The charter the leaders of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield, and York launched called ‘No Silver Bullet - Doing more to support our lower paid workers' said tackling low pay is a priority.
The charter sets out 10 recommendations for the region. The charter calls for the introduction of the living wage by the end of the 2016/17 financial year. It calls upon the councils to use their influence to encourage local and regional businesses to do the same.
The charter committed to "guarding against inappropriate zero-hours contracts", and driving a "good growth" agenda.
However the councils' have admitted that success will only come if private sector employers also recognise improvements in pay, economic resilience and good future growth.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority chairman, Cllr Peter Box said the charter concentrated on three dimensions - pay, effects not linked to salary, and the role of councils as leaders in society.
He said: "We are already ethical employers. However, we must look at how we work and our behaviours and systems through a new lens to make sure that at all points we are conscious of the needs of our lowest paid.
"This is critical if the people that fill these roles are to be supported to develop and progress in an environment where local authorities are changing rapidly.
"What's more, it is critical to the success of the future of local government. As such, there is nothing in this report that cannot be actioned and will not, when actioned, have a positive effect on our lowest paid."
Kirklees Council leader Cllr David Sheard said he was proud of the progress made by the WYCA Lower Paid Workers Group, which is chaired by Kirklees director Ruth Redfern.
Cllr Sheard said: "It is important that this is not seen as something only benefiting our own employees - by setting an example and encouraging other local organisations to do the same, we will hopefully help a lot more people in the region to take a step out of poverty.
"It will be spent locally to boost our economy, supporting business and helping us to make us a thriving region in which to live, work and invest."
All six council leaders have backed the Charter which will now go back to individual local authorities to pick up the recommendations.
Other Yorkshire councils that are have been officially accredited by the Living Wage Foundation include York City Council, Selby Town Council, Hebden Royd and Hessle Town Councils.
Listed building supplier Marshalls plc, the Kelda Group, the Spencer Group and the University of Huddersfield are also official Living Wage employers.
IMMINENT INCREASE IN COURT FEES
As you may have heard or read, from April 2015, the government is proposing to substantially increase the Court fees payable when issuing court claims.
In claims for the recovery of money or damages, the Court operates a sliding scale of fees, presently running from £25 at the lower end to £1,920 at the upper end. Full details of the current fee scales can be found here.
From April 2015, Court issue fees for the recovery of money will equate to 5% of the value of a claim (capped at £10,000). Thus, a claim for £200,000 will now attract a court fee of £10,000 (as opposed to £1,920 that is the current Court fee). Clearly, this is a sizeable increase.
Discounts of 10% will apply to these fees where the claim is initiated electronically using online facilities (where available) however not all claims can be commenced online.
Fees for claims of less than £10,000 will be unaffected by these proposals.
Clearly one way for clients to avoid these substantial Court fees is to issue proceedings before the end of March 2015 when the new fee regime comes into force.
As is the case now, Court issue fees form part of the costs of any claim which can be sought from a defendant in the event of a successful outcome. However, many cases "settle" out of court without full account being taken of the costs incurred.
You are therefore advised to give careful consideration to any legal issues that are current, or which you can see may involve the need to commence legal proceedings.
Please bear in mind that a great many clients may wish to issue proceedings in March (for this very reason), so please don't leave it until the last two weeks in March before you approach us, as pre-action protocol letters will still have to be issued and complied with before proceedings can be issued!
It is important to note that commencing any court claim requires careful forethought and planning such that it may be dangerous to rely upon 'last minute' instructions to issue a claim before the new fees take effect.