Almost one in three companies (29 per cent) surveyed recently have indicated that they are planning to make redundancies in the next three months.
The figures have been compiled by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the recruitment website Totaljobs to highlight the impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on employment intensions across the UK.
Around 28 per cent of businesses are believed to have shed jobs during the second quarter of the year but 66 per cent maintained their workforce at the same levels, which is being taken as an indication of the success and importance of the government’s Job Retention Scheme.
Redundancies are already being announced at a significant pace and scale by companies across the UK as the virus crisis continues and it’s clear that many more jobs will be lost as the Job Retention Scheme is phased out.
Only 18 per cent of micro firms, meaning those with 10 or fewer employees, anticipate making job cuts in the coming quarter, according to the BCC and Totaljobs.
But the figures suggest that some 41 per cent of all small and medium-sized companies, with a workforce numbering anywhere up to 250 people, expect to reduce their employee numbers in the coming weeks.
The same proportion of larger firms also expect to cut the scale of their workforces between July and October, according to the data compiled from 7,400 survey responses.
Both the BCC and Totaljobs have called for the government to take action to alleviate some of the likely damage that could be caused by mass redundancies across the economy.
“The government should consider additional support for employers before the Autumn Budget to reduce the overall cost of employment and prevent substantial redundancies,” said BCC co-executive director Hannah Essex.
“Measures could include a temporary cut in employer National Insurance Contributions and support to upskill and reskill employees as businesses adapt to change.”
Jon Wilson from Totaljobs added: “It’s clear that moving forward, adaptability remains paramount for businesses and people, with upskilling, reskilling and utilising transferable skills all key factors during this recovery period.
“To protect jobs and further ease the burden facing businesses, we join the British Chambers of Commerce in their call for a cut in employer National Insurance.”