South Wales boom on its way
Lisa Bury, who spent six years in the Valleys moving those on welfare into employment, is more optimistic now than at any time since the financial crash.
In a new role as Operations Manager of Berry Recruitment in Cardiff, she is seeing signs that the recovery is well underway.
The South Wales branch of the fast-growing national consultancy was launched just over two years ago, and that in itself is an indication that employers are looking to take on staff.
Indeed, Berry Recruitment will be adding to its own workforce in Wales this year.
Lisa has observed the improving trend not only in Wales’ capital city but as far east as Chepstow and as far west as Swansea.
The jobless total in Wales was recorded at 97,000 in the three months ending in June. This is down by 3,000 on the previous three months, and 25,000 fewer than a year ago.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed the number of individuals claiming Jobseekers Allowance had fallen for 17 consecutive months.
But wage increases have failed to rise as much as inflation, leaving workers feeling poorer.
Lisa said: “I am feeling optimistic about the future especially as the economy is picking up.
“Workers might not feel wealthier just yet, but I’m confident that will come after conversations with employers.
“The last figures available show that the median full time gross weekly earnings in Wales is £472.30, compared with £517.50 in England, £508.30 in Scotland and £460.00 in Northern Ireland.
“However, the number of jobs is increasing and wage rises will follow.
“We are looking for more and more candidates across a number of sectors - we’re placing people into jobs in commercial, industrial, driving, construction and catering industries.
“I worked for six years in Welfare to Work programmes and that experience is really useful for us at Berry - we know what is available to assist candidates.
“We help them in practical ways by filling in forms, offering sensible advice and by interviewing them face-to-face.
“During my time in Welfare to Work programmes I dealt with some families who had been unemployed for generations and that is a culture that is changing.
“Some of those I placed into employment from welfare are now climbing the promotion ladder and that progress is being driven by a growing economy.
“While the recovery in South Wales is not at the level seen in London and the South East, it is arriving - as always there is a lag in these things.
“Businesses are moving into the area, businesses are being set up and we ourselves are in our third year of trading and are expanding all the time.”
Berry Recruitment in Cardiff was launched as Wild Recruitment before being bought by the national chain Berry.