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Quarter of UK firms to start hiring again - report

Source: Reuters - Mon 24th May 2010

More than a quarter of UK businesses plan to take on more staff in the coming year, in a further sign the economic recovery is gathering pace, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Monday.

The survey of 666 companies conducted with recruitment consultants Harvey Nash, showed 28 percent of firms planned to increase recruitment over the next 12 months.

Last year, some two-thirds of businesses had imposed a recruitment freeze but that has fallen to just 5 percent in the latest survey, conducted in February and March.

The figures suggest that Britain remains on track for recovery from its deepest downturn since World War 2 and indicate that unemployment could soon start to subside from the current 8 percent rate.

The survey also showed that 49 percent of firms plan to raise wages in line with or below Retail Price Inflation and the proportion of companies planning to freeze pay has fallen to 16 percent from 47 percent in the August/September survey.

Only 3 percent plan an above-inflation increase, which should provide some comfort to policymakers who are concerned current high inflation becoming embedded into expectations. lower in others.

"We are seeing the first indications in the market that businesses are gearing up for a return to growth and this trend is most concentrated in the technology, financial services sectors and some areas of manufacturing. Although the recovery is fragile, there is a sense that the UK economy as a whole has turned a corner" said Albert Ellis, chief executive of Harvey Nash.

Reflecting on how they got through the recession, more than 80 percent of employers believe the UK's flexible labour market helped stem job losses. Nine out of ten companies made changes to working patterns in response to the recession.

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