Last reviewed 14 March 2022

New research by Acas has found that 41% of British employers expect the numbers of staff at their organisation to increase over the next year. Acas commissioned YouGov to ask businesses whether they expect staff numbers to increase, decrease or stay the same in the next 12 months compared to the previous year.

While 47% expect staff numbers to stay the same, only 7% expect a decrease.

Acas Chief Executive Susan Clews said: “Many businesses experienced a challenging time due to the impact of COVID and the employees at those organisations may have felt that they faced an uncertain future. As we come out of the pandemic restrictions, it is very encouraging to see a turnaround with two in five employers expecting an increase in staff in the year ahead and nearly a half expecting no change.”

She has reminded employers that Acas publish good practice advice and training on how best to recruit people, follow employment law and avoid discrimination. This can be found at www.acas.org.uk/job-applications-and-hiring.

The guidance includes advice on how firms can ensure that they are not discriminating against anyone and are keeping within the law with best practice on advertising for a new job including Acas templates for job descriptions and application forms.

Acas also highlights the rules around immigration following Brexit, if an organisation wants to recruit from outside the UK, and discusses how best to interview people for a job and offer the role.

Finally, it warns of the legal considerations to take into account if intending to use a job applicant's social media profile as part of a selection process.

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

Whilst undertaking right to work checks is a legal requirement of businesses, they must ensure they do so in a fair and non-discriminatory way. Employers must not make assumptions about a person’s right to work in the UK or their immigration status in general, based on their nationality, race, accent, surname or length of UK residence.

Job applicants have the ability to raise claims of discrimination to the employment tribunal if they feel the recruitment process discriminated against them or if they were overlooked for a job opportunity due to incorrect perceptions of their right to work status.