LONDON (Reuters) — British firms plan to hire more staff over the next 12 months, a survey by business lobby CBI showed, raising hopes that a strong improvement of the labour market will continue.
The survey of 300 firms, employing over 1.4 million people between them, showed that 35 per cent of employers expect staffing levels to rise over the next 12 months, while 15 per cent see it shrinking, the CBI said.
While the resulting balance of +20 was lower than at the same point last year, the survey still bode well for the labour market, the CBI said.
"The performance of our flexible labour market in generating jobs in a sluggish economy is a mini-miracle," said CBI chief policy director Katja Hall. "Businesses look set to continue with the positive but cautious approach to hiring that we've seen over the past couple of years, and this is echoed in expected pay restraint designed to protect employment."
The number of Britons in work hit a record-high in August and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9 per cent despite an economy that only emerged from a nine-month recession in the third quarter.
How a shrinking economy can create new jobs has been the biggest puzzle for economists and central bankers, though many have pointed out that wages increases have lagged inflation.
The CBI survey showed that employers expected this trend to continue. 36 per cent of firms planned wage rises either below-inflation or targeted at specific employees. 16 per cent of firms were planning a pay freeze.