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EMPLOYERS HOLD THEIR NERVE IN POST-RECESSION UK AS HIRING PROSPECTS RISE

2011 LOOKS BRIGHTER: EMPLOYERS HOLD THEIR NERVE IN POST-RECESSION UK AS HIRING PROSPECTS RISE

MANPOWER EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK SURVEY SHOWS THAT DISPARITY BETWEEN UK REGIONS IS MORE SEVERE NOW THAN DURING RECESSION

UKs Net Employment Outlook rises to 2%, the first improvement since Q1 2010
Finance & Business Services and Utilities are the most positive industry sectors
Gap in hiring intentions between UK regions widens as the South West reports positive intentions of 13% and Scotland reports downbeat prospects at -12%

National survey results show employers are holding strong in the UKs post-recession recovery, reporting a rise in hiring intentions despite planned Public sector job cuts and growing disparity between the 12 UK regions says Manpower, a world leader in innovative workforce and outsourcing solutions.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released today and based on responses from over 2,100 UK employers, reports a national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook of 2% for the first three months of 2011. This is the first improvement in 12 months following a stagnant year at 1% in 2010 and an encouraging indicator that employer hiring confidence is slowly rising.

The country has weathered unsettled conditions during 2010, and now in the wake of the governments Comprehensive Spending Review and as new regulations around skilled migration and entrepreneurial visas bed down Public and private sectors must adjust to new expectations, says Mark Cahill, Managing Director at Manpower UK. Central and local governments are already implementing cost-saving strategies, many of which provide opportunities for the private sector where outcomes can potentially be delivered more efficiently.

Across the EU economies continue to be affected by the financial crisis in different ways the severity of the debt crisis in Ireland will surely bring further change to business structures and labour markets as bail-out plans unfold. In the UK, the way in which businesses operate and workforces are structured is already changing, as organisations re-evaluate current business practices, identify opportunities to move forward in a new direction and re-focus on output across traditional and non-traditional roles. In the Public sector for instance, implementing smarter business practices such as renegotiating with suppliers, sharing resources with other government departments and engaging a flexible workforce will all contribute to cost savings. In the private sector, changing consumer behaviours are impacting on existing business models within the retail sector (-5%) for instance, spending online continues to increase, requiring back-end support, while the demand for employees in High Street stores declines. In addition, where key senior hires are appointed that can help transform an organisation post-recession, employers are closely aligning job specifications to key performance and business indicators.

Cahills adds: Now is a pivotal time for shaping the future of the UKs employment landscape. With growing disparity between the countrys regional employers, we are seeing a wider gap in hiring intentions now than we did at any point during the recession. Regions traditionally home to labour intensive workforces are showing negative hiring intentions, while those with more diverse economies predict an encouraging start to next year.

Statistically, Northern Ireland, West Midlands, the North East and Scotland report hiring prospects of -7%, -5%, -6% and -12% respectively. Meanwhile, the western regions of the country are experiencing positive hiring intentions with the South West at 13%, the North West at 6% and Wales at 9% its first return to positive hiring prospects since Q3 2008.

Commenting on current employment conditions, Cahill concludes: We must work together to bridge the gap between candidate expectation and the reality of the post-recession labour market where knowledge workers will be in even more demand than before. We need to address the issue of generational unemployment and the social behaviours of younger generations now entering the workforce. There is still some way to go, but those seeking work must focus on retraining, upskilling and gaining on-the-job experience all of which are beneficial to securing permanent employment.

The Survey also reveals which specific sectors are expected to be the strongest and weakest for job creation over the next three months. Finance & Business Services and Utilities remain the two most promising sectors, with hiring intentions of 8% each, but in contrast, Retail and Construction are the two sectors with the weakest near-term hiring prospects at -5% and -4%, respectively.

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