It’s that time of the year again – the CBI/Pertemps Employment Trends Survey. The long-awaited roundup of all things recruitment, detailing the ups and downs in the industry over 2017, is back for its twentieth year and shines a light on what the future might bring for businesses across the UK.  

CBI logo

The annual survey, conducted between 30 August and October 2017, gathers the opinions of 299 businesses of all sizes and sectors across the country and compiles opinions into one big report, outlining all positives and negatives the industry currently faces.

So, what does this year’s survey actually say? We thought we’d condense the findings into smaller chunks to make it that little bit easier for you to digest…

Jobs growth

The survey discovered that many companies are optimistic about their ability to generate jobs in the short term. 51% of firms across the UK will grow their workforce in the upcoming year, with confidence highest amongst small and mid-sized firms.

Nearly two thirds (63%) currently believe that the UK labour market will contribute to Britain becoming a less attractive place to invest and do business over the next five years – rise from 50% last year and 25% in 2015.

Skills gaps are the most worrying factor concerning businesses currently. Nearly four in five highlighted it as a threat to UK labour market competitiveness. Brexit is also a concern as well as how easy it will be to access overseas workers.

Business growth


52% of employers aim to raise pay for staff in line with, or above, inflation in the coming year. This is lower than the 57% that planned to do so in 2016. Although the drop is small, it is relative to the higher rate of inflation that firms face.

The National Living Wage is also on business’s minds. The survey shows that it is increasingly challenging for businesses, with 63% needing to take action to cope with the costs so far, up from 59% last year. The most common actions range from raising prices (21%) and restructuring their business model (20%), to increasing investment in training (32%). 

As the NLW increases in the years ahead, only 28% of affected businesses polled will be able to absorb the costs. A quarter of respondents affected are expecting to restructure their business models, which raises to 33% amongst mid-sized firms. While 30% intend to increase automation to raise productivity.  



The good news is, more businesses than ever are committed to creating a fair and engaging workplace. Diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of many business agendas, proven by the recent survey.   

More than nine in ten respondents (93%) reported that a diverse and inclusive workforce is important to the future success of their organisation, with 70% introducing or extending flexible working opportunities and 66% investing in training for line managers to help boost inclusion. Respondents report a range of benefits of inclusive workplace practices including increased skills (50%) and attraction and retention of staff (52%). 

Pertemps believe in the importance of creating an inclusive environment for our staff. We recently featured in the BiTC Best Employers for Race list 2017 which includes organisations from across the country and focuses on businesses that showcase best practice on race equality in the workplace. We’re glad to see that other businesses are getting onboard and making a diverse workforce a top priority.

People in an office

2017 has seen it all; concerns surrounding pay gaps, skills shortages and Brexit, as well as businesses dealing with the Apprenticeship Levy and IR35. It’s been an interesting year in business and one of the most uncertain, however, despite all this, the recruitment market has remained lively with growth occurring in most sectors. At Pertemps, we look forward to 2018 and the exciting developments it will bring.

To read the full CBI/Pertemps Employment Trends Survey 2017, click here.