In partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the quarterly Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index is the most authoritative report on the key socio-economic factors influencing confidence in the UK labour market.
The Robert Half JCI analyses the factors determining how confident an individual is likely to feel about their ability to secure employment and fulfil their career potential, whilst creating economic value.  Equip yourself with information about the latest job security, pay, job search and progression trends to support your business strategy or job search. Download the report today.
The Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index stood at 45.8 in Q3 2023, its second highest level since Q1 2022. Job security confidence saw the strongest Q3 2023 reading at 107.3, against a backdrop of skills shortages across industries. Over half (58.4%) of employees feel confident about their job looking ahead to the next six months.
The pay confidence pillar remains firmly in positive territory, at 28.5. A sharp deceleration in inflation further boosted wage growth. Job earnings security worsened as per latest data, indicative of more workers reporting unpredictable wages.
The job search and progression confidence pillar climbed by 14.4 points on the quarter to reach 46.8 in Q3 2023, rising to its highest reading since Q4 2019.47.4% of employees feel confident or very confident about their future career prospects and ability to progress in their career over the coming five yearsSocial mobility (measured by access to higher professions by education) worsened, holding back a larger improvement in the index.
0:00 pleased to welcome you to our quarterly update looking at the latest findings from Robert Half job confidence index 0:06 which is in partnership with CBR which is the center of uh for economics and business research so today we have Nina 0:13 skiro who's the chief executive at CBR uh who will be going through the latest jci data followed by um a Q&A uh which 0:23 will be based off the back of the findings so before I start I'd like to share some of the reasons why we've 0:28 commissioned this unique study so while uh business and consumer confidence are regularly measured analyzing worker 0:34 confidence through a macroeconomic lens and in the context of job creation security and career progression can 0:41 reveal deep insights into the state and stability of our labor market um although traditional measures of our 0:47 labor market um uh like unemployment job vacancies are very very valuable um the 0:53 figures alone are not enough to understand the UK's increasingly complex labor market so this is why we've 0:59 partnered with with CBR to create the quarterly Robert Half jobs confidence index so with that I'd like to uh 1:06 introduce our guest speaker Nina skiro from the CBR uh CBR um as the chief executive of CBR 1:14 Nina is regularly interviewed on Bloomberg and the BBC she also um often 1:19 presents her research at public events around the UK um also globally across Europe Asia and the Middle East um uh 1:27 Nina analyzes uh authors perspec reports and uh and comments as an expert 1:33 on labor market trends so we're delighted to have Nina Nina with us um 1:38 and uh I'm working on the jobs confident confidence uh index so um so with that 1:43 I'll pass over to to Nina who will um who will uh walk through her 1:49 deck thanks very much Gareth and thank you also for the for the introduction so 1:54 um before I I delve into uh this quarter's results of the index perhaps 2:01 just a um a bit of a quick overview of what the work is just for anyone who is 2:08 um less familiar with it or only becoming familiar with it now so the the 2:13 index is a quarterly and therefore very timely timely measure um and it takes a 2:21 very Broad and robust view at the at 2:26 jobs confidence and what is happening in the labor market I think what makes it 2:31 particularly useful to businesses and other stakeholders out there is just how 2:37 many indicators we Encompass within the research so it provides a much more 2:42 comprehensive look um at the at the situation out there than something like 2:47 the the official labor market releases which would usually be one very specific 2:54 measure so it's a very unique very authoritative um overview of the the 3:00 situations in the job market um and with that I will just start sharing the 3:07 results of the latest quarterly 3:21 report there we are so um we can see 3:26 there um the back history of the the jobs confidence index as well as the 3:32 most recent reading which is for the third quarter of 2023 and what the jobs confidence index 3:41 has done is actually marginally declined compared to the second quarter but as 3:47 you can see if you compare it to the back history despite this decline it's actually still um quite quite positive 3:56 um so the each quarter the value that the index takes on um is sort of varies 4:04 around the zero Mark so you can take on both a positive and a negative value so 4:10 if it takes on a positive value it means that it is higher than the long-term 4:15 that average and if it is negative it means that that quarter it is the 4:21 reading is lower than the long-term average um so methodologically there is 4:26 actually no limit to how high or how low the reading can be but just based on the 4:33 back history we say that the usual range is between positive 30 and negative-3 so 4:43 this quarters reading out at 45.8 even though it is a decline from 4:50 the previous quarters reading of 47.2 that is actually still a very very 4:56 um confident and very very POS positive reading um so as 5:04 I oops sorry just let me sorry um so as I um just said yeah we 5:15 we've SE this decline from 47.2 to 45.8 but overall index staying very positive 5:21 um and if we just take a look at what are the components of of that 5:27 performance in the third quar so the index has four subc components so 5:35 what we look at is job security confidence um confidence around pay um 5:42 people's confidence in terms of search job search and progression and then 5:47 finally the fourth pillar looks at broader macroeconomic indicators and if we look at how those 5:54 four subcomponents have changed in the recent quarter so only one of them has 6:01 risen which is the search and progression confidence pillar um whereas 6:07 the other three have declined but similarly with as with the headline findings despite the other three 6:15 declining um they are actually not painting too negative of a picture 6:20 overall given that some of those declines were from a very um high high 6:26 base so looking at the um search and 6:31 progression pillar again it is risen to its highest reading since the final 6:37 quarter of 2019 and is now six sits at 6:43 46.8 um the job security pillar again despite declining posted quite a strong 6:48 reading at 107.3 um although that was a decline of 6:54 12.8 points from an even stronger reading in the second quarter 7:00 um on pay confidence um we saw a decline of Five Points down to 7:08 28.5 um and then finally on macroeconomic confidence we saw a decline from 3 to 7:15 0.8 although again keeping in mind how much variability there is in the index 7:21 and what the usual ranges are um although that is a decline in the macroeconomic confidence it is sort of a 7:27 broadly stable readings still I would say um so next if I delve a little bit 7:34 more detail in terms of what each pillar is telling us starting with the job 7:41 security confidence um so this pillar would include measures such as the 7:48 official measure of unemployment the unemployment rate um look we would look at labor market tightness and it also 7:56 includes a bespoke surveying um element so as I mentioned before the the job 8:03 security pillar declined but remained quite High um after recording the 8:10 strongest reading of the jci four pillars for for an eighth consecutive 8:16 quarter um something that I will point out is I mentioned that there is a 8:21 bespoke surveying element to to this pillar um which looks at how confident 8:27 employees feel um about their job looking looking six months ahead um and 8:34 there was a small downt in that bespoke measure but it's overall still quite a strong reading so last quarter 60% of 8:41 respondents said that they broadly felt confident about the prospects for the 8:47 next six months um and this quarter that figure went down slightly to 58.4 but 8:53 still a pretty encouraging reading and something that I think is really interesting to mention with this 9:00 pillar in particular and which underlies why I think jci overall is a really 9:06 unique and useful um useful tool is that 9:11 some of the subcomponents or some of the indicators that go into this sub component um come from the ons's labor 9:19 force survey which some of you might have seen um has been in the news given 9:25 that it's come under some attention for possible issues with 9:31 accuracy um and actually in the last month there's been some delays in the release of the official data so I think 9:39 this really underscores why there is a need to have something like the jci out 9:46 there um which takes a much broader look at the the situation in the job market 9:53 um paints you know an an alternative and complimentary picture of the of the 9:59 labor market as a whole so that we have something to rely on and to inform our decision making when the official 10:07 measures such as the unemployment rate um perhaps have issues with sampling like it like is happening at the at the 10:16 moment uh moving on to the second pillar which look at pay confidence um and this 10:25 um pillar declined overall despite an optic real 10:30 earnings um so we've seen real wage growth accelerate in the third quarter 10:36 to 1.4% year onye um which is 0.7 10:43 percentage points higher than in the previous quarter and this uptake is a result of a substantial downt take in 10:51 inflation given that real wages are of course um inflation um adjusted so 10:58 despite this optic in real earnings the pay confidence pillar um 11:04 declined um and that was a result of the the other components so um again despite 11:12 the upward Trend in real earnings the um the people's confidence around sort 11:19 of earnings actually is showing some signs of of wavering a little bit um and 11:26 also we've seen that a larger share of workers reported having unpredictable 11:31 wages which of course isn't very encouraging in terms of the overall confidence levels um we've also seen 11:39 poor figures for p variant AC cross comparable occupations um which was 11:45 another downward contributor to the overall downtick in the pay confidence 11:51 pillar um and then moving on to the job search and progression confidence um 11:59 which was the only of the four pillars to see a rise between the past two um 12:06 quarters so the pillar climbed um significantly by 14.4 points um to reach 12:14 46.8 and that is actually its highest reading since the final quarter of 12:20 2019 um so the core driver of this Improvement was an optic in Career Pro 12:28 ression confidence which is also a measure that is um that comes from a 12:35 bespoke surveying element um that we do for for the index um so looking at the 12:43 the results of that bespoke research so um 47.4% of the respondents in the latest 12:50 wave said that they felt either confident or very confident about future 12:55 career Pro Prospects and their ability to for to progress in their careers over 13:02 the coming five years um and of that 47.4% 14.6% felt very confident about their 13:10 future prospects um and this was an uptic compared to the reading in the second quarter of 13:16 2023 um when the comparable figur stood at 13:22 41.9% now on the other hand um whilst that um indicator of the job search and 13:30 progression pillar improved we also saw that there was more limited social 13:35 Mobility um which is something that in this index we measure by looking at access to higher professions dependent 13:42 on education level so this indicator worsened which held back um an even 13:48 larger Improvement in the overall pillar and if we look at finally levels of 13:54 economic inactivity and involuntary part-time worked these these increased marginally on the latest 14:02 data um so that would um again be sort of a a down um downwards put downwards 14:10 pressure on this pillar although it is worth keeping in mind that the this 14:15 measure is only updated up until July and this is due to the difficulties from 14:22 the on that I mentioned earlier and in terms of their data that they're releasing that is based on the labor for 14:28 survey so that measure has um not been as up to-date um due to those issues but 14:35 still overall given that it's only one of the inputs into the pillar the overall pillar tells a very very current 14:42 and I think reflective story of what we're seeing out there in terms of job search and progression picture and then 14:49 the final fourth pillar um looks at sort of broader macroeconomic considerations 14:55 so there is a measure of both consumer confidence and and business confidence 15:00 the measure of consumer confidence is comes from the CBR UGA consumer 15:05 confidence measure and then we look at our work with BDO as a measure of 15:12 business uh confidence and business um optimism so strictly speaking this 15:19 measure declined from three to 0.8 but I mean if you're sort of looking 15:25 at that chart it's a little bit hard to see that change just because both of the 15:31 measures are both of the readings both in the second and the third quarter are so close to zero um so uh you know 15:40 looking at first consumer confidence um the the average reading in the third 15:46 quarter was 100.6 um so it's a very marginally 15:53 optimistic but basically neutral consumer sentiment Outlook um um and 15:59 then looking at business optimism um again it's stayed largely unchanged 16:05 increasing by just 0 point four points on the quarter and is actually broadly 16:10 flat on the year as well changing just 0.3 points so overall I would say um 16:17 although the ma the macroeconomic pillar is has declined it's really a sort of a 16:24 chain it's really a story of sort of a broadly unchanged level confidence on 16:29 the quarter for both consumers and businesses and then having reviewed the 16:36 four sub pillars um we take a closer look at the tech 16:43 industry um for which we specifically consider a number of the indicators that 16:48 have just been talking about and we look at um basically how they have compared 16:54 uh relative to the performance in The Wider economy um so I would say a relatively mixed 17:02 picture in terms of the indicators um but still I I think a lot of a lot of 17:09 reasons for optimism in terms of the the tech industry snapshot as well so um if 17:15 we look at the first starting with the measures that have improved so we've 17:21 seen um annual um earnings growth now it's a little bit um sort of important 17:29 to take a moment to explain so between the two quarters quarter 223 and quarter 17:35 323 this measure has seen a significant uptick um but actually the annual uh 17:43 change in um in vacancies is one of one 17:49 of decline so basically it's um sort of 17:55 you know although a positive contribution to the to the reading um 18:00 basically what's happened between the two quarters is that the number of vacancies is declining more slowly um 18:09 but it's important to keep in mind that these are annual change figures so uh a 18:15 year ago there was such an elevated number of vacancies that actually what 18:21 we're seeing now is not U at all a bad situation it's just a return to longer 18:27 St to longer r averages so it's important to be cautious with those you know quite 18:34 negative figures you know a rate of a 29.7% decline on the year again that's 18:40 just because the starting place was such such a high level um and then um as I 18:46 mentioned annual earnings growth um remaining quite strong so um and in fact 18:52 increasing so we saw annual earnings growth in the tech industry at 11.3% 18:59 um and this compares to 7.4% Across The Wider economy now even 19:06 7.4% for the wider economy is quite a strong reading so the fact that it's 19:11 even higher in the Tex industry is really quite a quite a strong reading um 19:17 and then looking at the final measure which saw an uptake between the final two quarters which is um labor 19:26 productivity um and again the situation in earnings growth is mirrored in what 19:33 we see in productivity growth in a sense that the sector is performing much better than the wider economy so in the 19:41 third quarter annual labor productivity growth stood at 19:46 0.9% um which is um essentially treble the rate for The Wider economy of 19:54 0.3 and then two of the measures um referring specifically to the tech 20:00 industry which saw a negative change between the second and the third quarter 20:07 of 2023 is the share of temporary workers and also um looking at pay 20:15 fluctuation so um the the share of employees with a temporary work Arrangement Rose by 1.1 percentage point 20:24 and now stands at 5.5% while the share of workers in the 20:29 tech industry specifically um that um 20:34 reported um fluctuating pay increased to 7.7% so these two would have been net 20:42 detractors from the overall reading um and the overall sentiment in the in the 20:47 tech industry so having taken a closer look at the tech industry um we take a look 20:55 um forward um B of sort of what we can expect for the 21:02 economy over overall and how this can interplate with some of the inputs into 21:08 the into the jci so um the third quarter 21:14 of 2023 basically saw economic growth flatlining compared to the previous 21:21 quarter and I think this really underlines what has been the case with 21:26 the UK economy for a little while now basically ever since that postco growth 21:31 boost started tapering off which is a very sort of flatlining um picture and very very low 21:40 rates of um growth um in fact in the third quarter on the year GDP is 21:46 estimated to have increased just 0.6% um so uh the this slowdown comes 21:56 against the the context of a few different headwinds so the cost of 22:01 living crisis um which came primarily on the back of the spike in Energy prices 22:08 which then increased the cost of a lot of other essential items as well and put 22:14 a lot of households in quite a difficult situation um and then given that that 22:20 spike in prices combined with supply chain bottlenecks and also combined with 22:28 very strong demand Boost after the covid restrictions were lifted so this created a perfect inflationary storm um so to 22:35 speak which then caused the bank of England to increase interest rates um which is now additionally um choking off 22:43 growth in an attempt to bring inflation under control and it's it's important to keep 22:50 in mind that although we've probably seen an end to the bank of England's hiking cycle that doesn't mean we've 22:57 seen seen the end of the impacts of that hiking cycle on the economy um a really 23:04 important transmission mechanism from monetary policy into the economy is 23:09 people seeing a change in their mortgage rates and there are still many households that are just now or are yet 23:16 to roll off their fixed mortgage payments and and really be exposed to 23:22 these higher interest rates um so in terms of the the GDP 23:28 forecast um we're expecting that 2023 as a whole will have seen 23:34 GDP um increased by 0.5% and then an even lower 0.4% in 23:42 terms of our growth forecast for 2024 um in terms of what this could mean 23:50 for the labor market so the labor market has actually remained quite robust 23:56 despite a downt in some of the other measures of economic activity um that I've just mentioned so um we are 24:04 actually currently seeing an employment at just 4.3% um but it is of course important to 24:11 keep in mind that unemployment is a lagging indicator so you would expect to see some delay between a wider economic 24:17 slowdown and an uptake in the unemployment rate and because of this and because of the continued trajectory 24:24 of very low growth we are expecting um um a peak in the unemployment rate of 24:32 5.2% in 2024 so we are expecting a little bit of a softening um on that 24:38 measure although historically speaking that is still not a too high of a rate of 24:43 unemployment um and then the correspondingly we are expecting these developments to be reflected in vacancy 24:52 numbers um which we're expecting to soften a little bit um the dis softening 24:58 will come on the back of some very very high figures that we've seen recently so 25:05 even after a softening in vacancy figures we're actually expecting um a a 25:10 relatively robust picture there so I will leave leave it uh there but um I'm 25:18 of course Gareth happy to take any questions you might have oh fantastic Nina thank you very 25:25 much that was really really interesting um you know the uh yeah the quarterly 25:30 index is uh you know certainly moved on so so look we've 25:35 got some time for um uh for for a few questions um so so firstly um H how do 25:43 you define confidence as an economist and and how important is confidence in business 25:49 growth well I I think the the best way to think about confidence is also probably the mo the the simplest one 25:56 which is it's basically a measure of how people feel how optimistic they are 26:02 about um various elements of both the present and the the future or the 26:08 opposite side of that how pessimistic they they might be in terms of their Outlook and you know why this is 26:16 important to business growth to economic growth is that if people are feeling 26:21 optimistic if they're feeling good about the future about what's to come they will spend more they will at more demand 26:28 for goods and services um this will have a KnockOn impact on business confidence 26:34 we can then we would then expect to see businesses feeling more confident being willing to invest more to hire more 26:43 which then in its own right boosts economic growth so I think it's it's quite an important measure because it 26:50 has a very sort of um sort of you know looped way of you know confidence breeds 26:56 more confidence breeds more economic growth yeah and and we're and and we're 27:02 Nina we we're certainly seeing that as we as we come to the end of the year um you know at the end of the fiscal year 27:08 then you know we we are seeing far more confidence um with regards to uh to businesses as they look to business plan 27:15 um into into 2024 so um okay thank you for that so so looking at the the 27:20 results in in which which ways do you think that this continues to be a unique 27:26 economic um and lab Market cycle I think it is a very unique point 27:33 in in time in indeed so fortunately there aren't a lot of 27:39 pandemics um out there and I I would still sort of I I think we're still seeing a lot of the Dynamics of that 27:46 sort of unwinding of the pandemic and then that really big surge in demand 27:51 after covid and I I think that's still um a really important element for where 27:58 we are in the in the labor market cycle right now so in the in the UK a lot of 28:05 people were expecting a very immediate and very negative shock to the labor market after brexit and brexit certainly 28:11 has had an impact on the labor market but there wasn't that very immediate and 28:17 very noticeable shock that some would have expected partially because it it took such a long time to actually sort 28:24 of you know resolve brexit but then that shock that we didn't see immediately after brexit we did see more so during 28:33 the the pandemic a lot of people left the UK and then didn't return um in in 28:40 the those same significant numbers and there might be an sort of element of of 28:47 sort of covid impacts mixing with bre brexit impacts would more people that had left in the early stage of Co 28:53 returned um if it wasn't for for brexit it it it's hard to put a number on it but probably so I think already that 29:01 combination of of brexit um you know quite an unprecedented change in the 29:07 structure of the economy combining with the the pandemic 29:12 impact um you know quite a unique situation but I will say um you know on 29:17 the on the bright side um there does also seem to have been a bit of a 29:23 decoupling from what the labor market is doing and what the wider economy is doing so even if we account for a little 29:29 bit of a lag it's interesting in itself the labor market has done so well despite quite anemic economic growth 29:37 yeah okay yeah very very good and and and and look that you know we are you know we are still um you know in in 29:44 times of uh of economic uncertainty um so what would you what would you put 29:50 down as the reasons for for high job confidence when as I said we are you know still in times of of economic 29:56 uncertain see well simply it's just a very it's a very tight labor market and you know and 30:03 anybody starting you know thinking about how they they conf how confident they are in their own employment situation I 30:10 think they would start there and then considerations about how the wider Eon economy is doing would only come as as 30:17 secondary um but you know it will of course um depend by by industry by you 30:24 know level of of seniority by by region by a lot factors but generally speaking 30:30 for for most people if they are looking for a job they're still seemingly going 30:36 to find a lot of good opportunities out there so I I I think in in that sense 30:43 people are feeling quite confident um and that will be the main thing they're keeping in mind more so than something 30:49 like you know what is the the GDP trajectory yeah yeah and and and look 30:55 our report talks about 44 ,000 open vacancies in Tech um you know each vacancy represents a potential missed 31:02 opportunity possibly um how much do you think that that this is skill shortages 31:07 uh skill shortage shortages induced I think a good component of that 31:15 does have to do with skill shortages so two particular points that I would 31:20 mention and that I think relate to the tech space in particular so one is that 31:26 I think the nature of of progress and development in the tech space means that 31:32 you tend to have a lot more very quick leaps um that you might not see in other 31:38 Industries and this would you know for example we're been looking at um Ai and 31:43 just how much progress has been there in that field in in the recent year so you 31:49 would have developments in the text base creating quite strong demand for workers 31:55 and then that sort of supply of workers that are skilled in the particular um 32:02 you know set of of skills that you would need would come online more slowly than 32:07 the than the demand um would the the uptick so there is that little mismatch 32:13 in in time which I think can can is contributing to that quite High figure 32:18 in terms of open vacancies and then the second consideration I would mention that is true for a lot of Industries but 32:24 I think especially so for Tech is that it is a global labor market um there is 32:29 quite a lot of remote roles it tends to be filled with job candidates that are 32:35 quite mobile internationally so it's also important for businesses in the in the tech space 32:43 to be competitive amongst each other for labor but it's also important for the UK 32:48 to be competitive as a country given that there are um skill shortages and 32:55 that people are very um in demend and that do have the right skills yeah absolutely and and and we're seeing as 33:01 well you know that that candidates are are you know are less inclin to move um 33:06 at the moment so you know uh as with that the knock on effect of that is is that um you know that that skill 33:13 shortage um deepens so um so yeah very interesting and look we've got time for for one more so um you know it's great 33:20 to see uh a rise in the uh in the real wage um you know 1.4% which is 0.7% 33:27 higher than than the previous previous quarter um so you know what what I what 33:32 I would um what I would ask is um you know the the growth has has has recently outstripped UK inflation um so what is 33:39 uh cbr's prediction going forward for the for the likelihood of of further uh 33:44 wage growth yeah so it I mean yeah as you as you say sort of it's in terms of how 33:51 people feel about their wages it's important both what their how their earnings are changing and what inflation is doing so on the looking at um looking 34:01 at inflation we are expecting it to continue ticking downwards in 34:07 2024 and to by the end of next year by the end of 2024 to be sitting around the 34:13 two and a half to 3% range which is still above Target but it is also a 34:19 significantly lower than the rates we're seeing um at the at the moment um and 34:25 then in terms of way growth um we are expecting wage growth to sort of a 34:31 little bit come off the boil I would say over 2024 um and actually over 2024 sort of 34:39 it might seem some as a percentage relatively significant um declines from 34:44 the rates scen in 2023 um but given how high wage growth 34:50 has been in the year behind us even that lower lower um level would still be 34:56 around 5 and a half% and again Maring that up with the downt in inflation that 35:02 would still mean some very healthy real wage growth figures so um although I I 35:08 think some people have seen such high pay rises in the year behind us that it's perhaps left a little bit less room 35:17 um for equal RIS in in 2024 overall it's a very strong picture and that's also 35:22 what we've seen um in the latest jci it's o overall um you know important to 35:28 look at the details but at the at the highest level a very robust picture and 35:33 that is um also reflected in our forecast for wages okay thank you well F 35:39 fantastic so so look anina that's all we have time for uh this quarter um uh for 35:45 for everybody please take a look at the report uh which you can find on our Rober half website um if you'd like to 35:51 discuss any of the findings um then then please get in touch with us uh there will there will be another webinar in 35:56 quarter's time when the indicators will will almost certainly have changed um so that leaves me to just say look thank 36:03 you very much Nina um and the team at CBR um uh sorry C CBR uh we value your 36:09 partnership greatly and uh and we look forward to uh to our next quarterly 36:15 catchup yeah likewise thank you very much for the trust you put in Us in producing the the index and looking 36:21 forward to uh another quarter in not too long fantastic thank you thank you g 36:27 okay
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While traditional measures of labour market health, like unemployment and job vacancies, are valuable, the figures alone are not enough to understand the UK’s complex labour market, that's why we have partnered with Cebr to create the quarterly Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index (JCI).  The Robert Half JCI provides a holistic view of the labour market with all the stats in one place including: