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

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

  • 47% of HR directors are planning to increase hiring of permanent, professional employees in the first six months of 2015
  • Public sector recruitment predicted to increase in H1 2015
  • 91% 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 – Almost half (47%) of HR directors 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.  Four 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 just 4% of HR executives believe their company will reduce their overall headcount over the period.  Less than one in 10 (8%) believe their company will freeze hiring in the next six months, by not filling vacant positions or creating new ones.   

UK 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



Reducing – eliminating positions



Despite calls for ongoing austerity measures, HR directors representing public sector bodies are only marginally less confident than their private sector counterparts about increasing employment levels in the first half of 2015. Of those HR professionals operating in the public sector, 42% expect to increase headcount levels in the next six months.  The most buoyant forecast, however, comes from publicly-listed companies, with nearly six in 10 (57%) executives planning to create new roes in the first half of the year.Employee retention continues to be a major concern for HR professionals as the labour market heats up. Four in five (80%) 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.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “We are witnessing the typical post-recessionary power shift, with rapidly increasing demand for niche skills and commercial acumen affording candidates a position of strength from which to negotiate.  Firms looking to expand their employee base are likely to drive up wages with the increased competition for the most sought-after professionals. Companies who want to attract skilled employees will need to look once again towards generous remuneration packages. It’s also important to “re-recruit” current staff in a bid to retain them, making sure they are aware of training programmes and opportunities to progress, as well as other factors such as flexible working to facilitate work-life balance.”

The war for talent is set to increase dramatically in the next 12 months due to an ongoing skills shortage in the labour force.  Nine in 10 (91%) HR professionals say it is a challenging environment to identify skilled professional-level employees for their organisation, with a third (32%) stating it is very challenging.  

A lack of niche technical experts was cited by 35% 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 30% 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 (22%) 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