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UKJobs Market Defies Gravity Says Manpower

UKJobs Market Defies Gravity Says Manpower

UKEmployers Continue To Hire Despite Buffeting Winds of Double Dip Recession and Euro Crisis

National Outlook of 1% indicates a remarkable resilience in UK job creation

South of England, Finance and Utility sectors, and big firms lead the way in hiring

Small firms, start-ups and the north lag behind

The UK’s Employment Outlook continues to keep its head above water, according to ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions. With an Outlook of 1%, employers are demonstrating a remarkable resilience given the bleak economic weather.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming economic quarter. It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government. The national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook of 1%[1] indicates that the jobs market is still in positive territory, having shown similar promise in the second quarter of 2012 with an Outlook of 2%.

“When you’re going head to head with a return to recession at home and a burgeoning Eurozone crisis, by rights the jobs market should be in free fall - but that’s not what we’re seeing. Firms are still looking to hire albeit at a weaker pace than before but the sort of hiring that is going on is where you’d least expect it. Take the Finance and Business Services sector for example, which is 13%. We’ve all heard about banks shedding thousands of jobs, but the banks are also hiring thousands of temporary workers to deal with the fall out from the misselling of Payment Protection Insurance. Whilst these jobs aren’t for life, a number of the banks have announced recently that they are setting aside more money to deal with the claims. As a result, the finance sector- so critical to the UK economy - is going to need to hold onto these workers for some time to come,” said ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director, Mark Cahill.

The Utilities sector continues to hire apace as well. In fact with a runaway score of 16%, the sector sits at a 5 year high. Cahill adds: “The Utilities sector has been consistently strong in recent months. You’ve only got to look at the recent decision by EDF Energy to build a power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Not only will this deliver secure affordable low carbon energy to around 5 million homes in the UK, it’s also creating 5000 jobs in the South West.”

The latest figures show employer confidence growing right across the South the Net Employment Outlook of 5% for the South West, South East and the East of England. London is also firmly in positive territory with a score of 3%. This “Southern Comfort” stands in sharp contrast with Wales on -5%, whilst in the North of the UK, Scotland has a score of -6% and both the North East and the North West register flat market scores of 0%. As the map below demonstrates, the old North-South divide appears to be rearing its head although in the Midlands there’s quite a marked divide between the East and West. East Midlands has the strongest regional score of 12% whilst the West Midlands seems to mirror the national picture with a more modest rating of 2%.

It’s not just the North and South that are divided in this latest Manpower survey. There is also an interesting split between large and small employers in terms of attitudes to hiring. Big businesses are more optimistic (8%) than at any time since 2010. However, when it comes to firms employing fewer than 10 members of staff – so-called micro businesses – are feeling the pinch at -2%.

Cahill continues: “At this time of year, the jobs market always sees an influx of new entrants both from school leavers and graduates. It is encouraging to see that big businesses are looking to hire over the summer months and we welcome the various initiatives such firms have put in place - from graduate training schemes to apprenticeships. However if we want to pull ourselves out of recession, we’re going to need young people and others to be work ready and have the in-demand skills in order to allow start-ups and entrepreneurs to flourish. For all the doom and gloom, let’s not forget there are still hundreds of thousands of job vacancies out there.”

Despite the overall tone of optimism surrounding the survey, some sectors continue to struggle. Construction, so often seen as a bellwether of economic activity, is once again a notably poor performer, failing to dig itself out of trouble still reporting a weak Outlook of -9%.

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