The research, which questioned 1,000 businesses, found that just 7% are planning to reduce their head-count in the next year or so. But there were disparities: medium-sized businesses (ie those with between 50-250 employees), for example, were the most optimistic, with half saying they're planning to make new hires in the next year. Micro-businesses, on the other hand (those with fewer than 10 employees) were less enthusiastic, with less than a quarter planning on creating jobs.
Nevertheless: the research also suggested that 46% of businesses are feeling optimistic about their sector's growth prospects. Although, as you might expect, the level of confidence is again affected by the size of the business. At one end of the scale, 56% of medium-sized businesses were positive about growth prospects, while 18% were negative. At the other, just 39% of micro-businesses were positive, while 47% were negative. So a bit less encouraging.
Now obviously, it does suggest that George Osborne et al's insistence that as the private sector grows, it would be able to absorb ex-public sector workers who lost their jobs as part of the cuts, seems to be paying off. On the other hand, there's an argument that, compared with unemployment figures out last week which showed the private sector has created 520,000 new jobs over the past year, that 470,000 figure is rather disappointing. And although unemployment now seems to be on a downward trend, certain groups (16-25-year-olds in particular) are having a harder time finding jobs than others. So although it's undoubtedly good news that businesses are planning on creating jobs, it's going to take a little encouragement from the Government to address those sorts of issues.