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The jobs market showed signs of stabilising in October despite difficult economic conditions, with a marked slowing in the decline of advertised job volumes compared to previous months. Advertised permanent roles, in particular, are showing signs of leveling out, signaling that despite economic uncertainty, businesses still have hiring needs.

The IT sector is currently performing strongest, continuing its positive performance from last month. While volumes of permanent roles remain in decline, this is marginal, and temporary roles are showing tentative growth. This bucks the trend for temporary jobs, which are still showing decline in all other sectors.

The banking, insurance and finance sector is also making progress. Although advertised job volumes are still decreasing, this decline has slowed considerably since last month, suggesting that the market may have cut back sufficiently to ward off further reductions.

On a less optimistic note, and unsurprisingly given the scale of the Government’s spending cuts, the public sector is still suffering from declining job volumes. Both permanent and temporary public sector  advertised roles have seen an ongoing decrease this year.

General staffing[1] is showing only a minimal reduction in job volumes and is looking more stable than many other areas. While temporary roles are faring better than permanent roles – which is unsurprising in the current climate – the reverse is the case for key sectors such as Banking & Finance, Media and Engineering. This may suggest that companies in these sectors are still looking to the future and aiming to maintain headcount or even expand in key areas. In the retail sector, volumes of temporary jobs are declining only marginally, and at a slower rate than permanent positions. It is expected that temporary jobs within retail will continue to stabilise and possibly even increase in the run up to the busy Christmas period, when short term seasonal contracts are crucial to many businesses.

Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director, Adecco – the UK’s largest recruiter, said:

“Despite the ongoing eurozone crisis and the threat of a double dip recession in the UK becoming ever more real, it is encouraging to see the jobs market start to level out as it has this month. While employers are still being cautious, confidence appears to be building, albeit very gradually.  A slowing in the decline in availability of permanent roles suggests that companies are starting to think about their future prospects and plans for growth. This positive, forward thinking outlook is crucial in order to boost the UK economy and drag it back from the brink of recession.

“Temporary roles are showing greater decline than permanent roles in almost all sectors, which may be a result of the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) coming into effect on October 1st. Whilst there is no need for the legislation to cause employers any alarm, many companies had buried their heads in the sand in the run up to its introduction and may have found themselves unprepared. These businesses may have eased off on hiring agency workers whilst ensuring that they are compliant with the new rules. However, we expect that in the run up to Christmas, the availability of temporary contracts will increase sharply to fill essential seasonal roles.”


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