CBI report expects North East businesses to boost workforces

NECC and Entrepreneurs' Forum back up optimistic survey from CBI which expects more companies to hire staff

Tom White/PA Wire The Tyne Bridge and The Sage Gateshead
The Tyne Bridge and The Sage Gateshead

Job prospects for North East graduates and apprentices are looking brighter for next year as more companies expect to hire staff, according to a new report.

A survey by the CBI and Accenture found more firms were set to create jobs than not in 2014 – a situation arising for the first time since the onset of the recession in 2008.

A report, On The Up, based on responses from 325 organisations employing more than a million people, found that just over half expected their workforce to be larger in 12 months’ time.

Virtually all the companies questioned said flexible employment patterns such as the use of agency workers, or zero-hours contracts, were vital or important to the economy, and four out of five said they expected new job opportunities to open up for young people in the coming year.

Katja Hall, the CBI’s chief policy director, said: “We’re starting to see the recovery have an impact on business plans to hire, with more than half of firms boosting staff numbers next year and more opportunities for young people. It’s good to see jobs being created across most regions, not just London and the South East.”

Olly Benzecry, managing director of Accenture, added: “The news that firms are expecting to grow their workforces is another welcome sign of the UK’s economic recovery.

“The skills agenda is critical to not only sustain this growth but to make it inclusive, increasing employability and opportunities for young people who are not in a job, training or education.”

The report comes in the midst of the Journal’s Proud to Back Apprenticeships campaign, aimed at boosting the number of companies providing training for young people.

Chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, James Ramsbotham, said the findings backed up what the Chamber had seen in its own Quarterly Economic Surveys throughout 2013.

“The surveys have demonstrated that businesses are recruiting, investing in equipment and enjoying more sales and orders than at any time since 2008,” he said.

“The economy has turned a corner this year and we’re seeing some positive signs. It is important that we continue to build on this growth and that nothing is done to destabilise the slow but steady improvements we have seen through the year.”

Chief executive of Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Nicola Short, said: “Our Entrepreneurs’ Forum surveys consistently show our members are both creating jobs and have expectations of continuing to do so in the future and, at the end of 2013, looking ahead to 2014, this is no different. The most recent survey showed an increase of 37% in businesses creating new jobs.”

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