Professional hiring index: 2015 set to be a bumper year for London recruitment

The Professional Hiring Index for the first half of 2015 looks at hiring trends and skills shortages that are expected to impact businesses in London

  • 58% of HR directors in London are planning to increase hiring of permanent, professional employees in the first six months of 2015
  • 95% of HR executives say it is a challenging environment to find skilled professional-level employees and 80% are concerned about losing top performers

London, 26 January 2015 – Over half (58%) of HR directors in London plan to expand hiring, with their companies set to add new positions, in the first six months of 2015 according to the latest Professional Hiring Index1 (‘the Index’) from Robert Half UK.  Twelve points higher than six months prior, the research highlights that the labour market has firmly shifted into a post-recessionary cycle, where professionals with marketable skills hold the advantage as candidate demand outweighs supply.

The Index reveals that four in 10 (38%) HR executives plan to maintain headcount over the period.  Less than one in 10 (5%) believe their company will freeze hiring in the next six months, by not filling vacant positions or creating new ones. 

London HR directors were asked, “What are your company's hiring plans for permanent professional-level employees in the next six months? Would you say you are…”


H1 2015 (Jan-June)

H2 2014 (July-Dec)

Expanding – adding new positions



Maintaining – only filling vacated positions



Freezing – not filling vacated positions and not creating new ones



Survey does not equal 100 due to rounding

London leads the UK in creating new roles, with the number of businesses expanding headcount a full eight points ahead of the Midlands (50%). Hiring is expected to be robust across the UK with the North (48%), South West / Wales and Scotland (both 40%) all increasing the number of permanent staff on their payrolls.

  UK-wide London / South East South West / Wales Midlands North Scotland
Expanding – adding new positions 47% 58% 40% 50% 48% 40%
Maintaining – only filling vacated positions 42% 38% 50% 43% 38% 43%
Freezing – not filling vacated positions and not creating new ones 8% 5% 8% 5% 8% 13%


Employee retention continues to be a major concern for HR professionals as the labour market heats up. Four in five (80%) London HR executives are concerned about losing top performers to other job opportunities in the next year and this will see pressure on employers to increase salary and benefits packages in order to retain them. This is likely to drive broader wage inflation through 2015 and beyond.

Matt Weston, Director, London, Robert Half UK said: “With hiring levels back to pre-recessionary standards this year, c-suite executive across London and the South East are now looking to 2015 as a year to grow their business and drive profitability. In 2014 we saw demand outweigh supply for skilled candidates, and this year we anticipate an even bigger shortage due to the uptick in hiring. Companies who want to attract top talent will need to act quickly in order to win the ‘war for talent’. It is more important than ever that companies should also look to “re-recruit” current staff in a bid to retain staff.”

The war for talent is set to increase dramatically in the next 12 months due to an ongoing skills shortage in the labour force.  Nearly all (95%) London-based HR professionals say it is a challenging environment to identify skilled professional-level employees for their organisation, with more than one in four (28%) stating it is very challenging.  

A lack of niche technical experts was cited by 37% of HR directors surveyed as the reason they were struggling to recruit appropriate personnel for their organisation.  Increasing competition between employers was a significant factor, with 32% of respondents stating demand was outstripping supply for candidates.   Systemic problems regarding the development of suitable recruits for the job market are still posing a problem for employers.  Almost a quarter (21%) of HR professionals believe it is challenging to fill positions because candidates still lack the fundamental commercial and business skills required for their organisation. 


Notes to editors

1      The bi-annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior HR executives from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and