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Hope on the jobs front as the Brightwork Group posts recession-beating figures

Hope on the jobs front as the Brightwork Group posts recession-beating figures

The Brightwork Group, the fast-growing Scottish recruitment specialist, has produced sparkling first half figures which once again highlight the apparent disconnect between falling UK GDP and healthy activity in the real economy.

While a drop of 0.7% in GDP attracted all the headlines, with the Shadow Chancellor talking about a "truly shocking" recession, less was made of the fact that 181,000 jobs were created in the three months to May.

And a slew of major companies - including Centrica, Jaguar Land Rover, BT and Hitachi - have made announcements of major jobs growth, while VAT receipts are up 6%, suggesting that consumers are feeling confident enough to loosen the purse strings.

The optimistic employment data across the UK was backed up by Brightwork's own figures for the first two quarters of 2012, which show group sales up 36% at &pound14.4m and pre-tax profits up by a similar percentage to &pound520,000.

This, said Brightwork chief operating officer Charles Turner, puts the Glasgow and Edinburgh-based company on target for full year turnover in excess of &pound32m - up on &pound26.5m last year - and pre-tax profits of &pound1.3m.

He said: "These figures show quite remarkable growth, which is all driven by companies' hiring activity, whether in the permanent or the temporary jobs market. This activity is also widespread - in a typical week, we will deal with 250 clients across a broad range of sectors."

Mr Turner accepted that there had been significant public sector job losses over the period, but pointed out that it was always in the current recovery plan that these should be offset by compensatory employment increases in the private sector.

He said: "I always felt that the expectations of a private sector counterbalance to public sector job losses was slightly optimistic and I am not denying that there continue to be real challenges for the economy.

"There are certainly real problems in the construction industry, where UK employment was down 2.7%, but the service sector is only down 0.1% on official figures and even that is contradicted by PMI figures which show an increase in activity in the second quarter.

"Obviously one set of excellent figures from one successful company such as Brightwork cannot be anything other than a statistical straw in the wind, but taking a number of other factors into consideration, it certainly doesn't feel on the ground as if it's the worst recession ever."

Turner, however, added a word of caution: “There is no doubt that business and the economy still face large challenges and uncertainties and the Government need to do more to support business drive the recovery. However, a promised & lsquo;bonfire of red tape’ has failed to materialise and action needs to be taken now to remove restrictions and legislative burdens on business, otherwise if could be the hopes for recovery and growth that end up on the bonfire.”

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