21 February 2023

42% of companies plan to increase headcount: employers must look after staff to attract and retain

Towergate Health & Protection today releases the details of research1 into the recruitment plans of over 500 companies from across the UK. The findings reveal that one third (33%) of employers have increased their employee headcount over the last 12 months, and 42% are looking to increase employee numbers further over the next 12 months. Remuneration and benefits are going to be key in supporting these plans, and companies will need to demonstrate how well they look after their staff.

Debra Clark, Head of Specialist Consulting at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “The big recruitment drive is on and employers need to make sure they have the right health and wellbeing support in place to ensure they can attract, but also retain, the best staff.”

The recruitment market is becoming increasingly competitive. The research shows that large corporates are most likely to have expanded, with 43% saying they have increased the size of their workforce over the last 12 months. This figure is 35% for medium-sized companies, 32% for small companies, and 22% for micro companies – giving an average of 33%.2

The trend is set to continue, with, on average, 42% of employers looking to increase their headcount over the next 12 months. This figure sits at 46% for large corporates, medium-sized companies and small companies, and 30% for micro companies.

Industry sectors across the board are looking to increase headcount, with - perhaps not surprisingly - the healthcare sector looking to increase its employee numbers the most. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of healthcare companies surveyed are looking to employ more people over the next year. Other sectors that are leading the way include business services and education, with 48% looking to increase headcount this year, followed by 45% for hospitality/leisure and IT/computing, and 41% for manufacturing.

Debra Clark says: “The wider health and wellbeing support offered by a company is key to securing new recruits and making sure that employees are not tempted elsewhere in a competitive market. It demonstrates that employees are valued, and can be a deciding factor in which company to work for. This support must include all areas of health and wellbeing: physical, mental, social, and financial.’

Employers must make sure that the health and wellbeing support on offer will make employees feel well looked after. Support needs to be right for the workforce demographic, well communicated and easily accessible; employers would also do well to consider extending support to dependants. Ongoing, regular communication of support is also vital, so that employees are aware of what is available when they might need it.


1. Research carried out on behalf of Towergate Health & Protection by Opinium among 500 HR decision makers, between 9 and 13 January 2023.
2. Definition of size of companies:
Micro: 1-9 employees
Small: 10-49 employees
Medium: 50 – 249 employees
Large: 250+ employees