Wales

Confidence rise signals firms recruitment boost

  • 16 December 2013
  • From the section Wales

There are signs that increasing confidence has led to more jobs being created by small and medium sized firms in Wales over the last three months.

The Federation of Small Businesses and Wales' largest recruitment company, Acorn, have found employers are becoming more willing to take on staff.

The findings apply across various different industries.

Figures for July to September showed 1.38m people are employed in Wales, a rise of 22,000 on 2012.

Acorn said it was seeing increasing demand for permanent and temporary staff particularly in construction and trades like painters and plasterers.

The FSB in Wales released its quarterly survey of members on Monday.

Although the sample size is small, it showed most firms were increasing their number of employees.

It is the first FSB survey to show this since they started to measure that data in 2010.

It also found most companies remain confident of an improving outlook for business though there are also concerns over a lack of skilled staff.

'Economy's picking up'

"We're seeing evidence of the recovery really starting to take hold in Wales," said Dr Rachel Bowen from the FSB Wales.

"This is translating into jobs. We know it's small firms creating most of the jobs from figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) so it's good to see small businesses driving forward the recovery."

Surviva is a Swansea-based manufacturer of heat reflective jackets which are used to treat shock and hypothermia and are also used in some outdoor pursuits.

Alex Lewis started the business in 2009 and in the last few months has expanded it to take on five full-time and one part-time worker.

"The economy's picking up, we're getting more and more interest from different organisations and because we're developing new products all the time, we're able to look at customers in different fields," said Mr Lewis.

Matthew Jones, who was working as a labourer, is one of the new workers at Surviva.

"Being that I'm 20, I'm able to stand on my own two feet - I was earning £50 a week which wasn't enough. It's better youngsters are getting more work," he said.

Employment often lags behind other measures when assessing whether an economy is recovering from a recession.

Taking on staff is an added cost so businesses tend to be wary of increasing employment until they are confident they need the extra workforce and can sustain it.

Recruitment company Acorn said construction and trades have seen the greatest increase in employment for the last five years.

It also said there had been growing availability for driving and logistics jobs in the last six months.

"Employers steadily over the course of 2013 have indicated they're looking forward over the next six to 12 months to take more and more people on," said Acorn director Dan Langford.

"Across the board, there's definite growth not just in temporary and contract roles but also in permanent positions, which is clearly important in understanding what the economy means to us."

The recruitment company expects the growth to continue into 2014.

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