More than eight in ten businesses (82 per cent) plan to hire more permanent staff in the next three months, according to the latest JobsOutlooksurvey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Almost three in ten employers (29 per cent) have taken on more staff in the last year, helping to push UK employment to its highest on record (74.1 per cent). With 95 per cent of businesses operating close to full capacity, the data indicates that it will become increasingly difficult for employers to find staff. Almost half of UK employers (47 per cent) have awarded pay rises in the last 12 months to help attract and retain talent.

With fewer candidates on the market, employers say that temporary workers have become increasingly important. Ninety per cent of businesses need temporary workers to provide ‘key strategic skills’, while six in ten (58 per cent) need temps to ‘respond to growth’.

REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“Options are running out for organisations that want to take on more staff. Schools and hospitals are already facing enormous problems because of a shortage of teachers and nurses. SMEs and big businesses are both feeling the pressure. The need for people to do the jobs available is driving firms to become more innovative and creative in their recruitment strategies.

“As campaigning begins in earnest around the EU referendum, jobs will be high on the agenda. We urge both sides of the argument to keep in mind that UK businesses must have sufficient access to the global labour market in order to thrive. We need more skilled people to fill job vacancies in the UK, not fewer.”