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Robert Half reports UK firms upbeat

According to new research from international recruitment consultancy, Robert Half UK (, businesses remain optimistic about their post-lockdown recovery prospects, with many continuing to push forward with various opportunities despite the impact of COVID-19.

Of those surveyed, 58% of c-suite respondents indicated that the pandemic has actually had a neutral-to-positive impact on business confidence,  while 42% feel adversely impacted – evidence of the varying effect the crisis has had on different sectors.

Amongst the five countries included in Robert Half’s survey, Brazil reported the greatest degree of negative impact, followed by UK and Belgium. In France and Germany, by contrast, the majority of survey respondents indicated that the business impact of the pandemic was largely neutral, overall.
Almost all executives surveyed (92%), said they are pushing forward with various opportunities post-lockdown, with digital transformation the top priority for 41% of businesses.  A significant proportion of firms have also redesigned job roles (29%) and adopted new business models (28%) in response to COVID-19’s impact.

While the pandemic has not been without its challenges – with executives highlighting the difficult business climate (26%) and tight budgets (16%) as the greatest barriers to innovation at present – businesses have remained resilient and agile in response to the COVID-19 ‘new reality’.
Despite the government furlough scheme coming to an end shortly, many companies remain positive about recruitment for the remainder of the year with 75% saying that they are hiring and onboarding new staff remotely during lockdown, and a further 88% say they are expecting to employ further full-time or temporary/contract workers between now and December.

“Commercial agility, use of new technologies, effective forward planning and risk management will remain vital to business recovery following the impact of COVID-19,” says Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK.

“Businesses should determine which projects they want to prioritise over the remainder of the year and conduct a skills audit to ascertain if their current workforce is equipped with the capabilities needed to achieve their new-look goals.  The essential competencies needed to grow their business may have shifted during the pandemic, so they may need to redesign job roles, upskill current employees or consider new combinations of permanent, temporary and project-based staff in order to build a smart, flexible staffing plan to power their post-lockdown recovery.” 

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