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Manpower survey finds big business hiring set to hit 10 year high

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,103 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming 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 7% indicates that 2015 will begin with a more optimistic jobs market than the fourth quarter of 2014, when the Outlook was 6%.

“2014 was a bumper year for jobseekers, with the highest level of job creation in 40 years. 2015 will begin with employers in an even more confident position and  we are optimistic about job prospects for the rest of the year. The main catalyst is big business hiring:  with an Outlook of 21%, more of the UK’s largest employers are planning to take on staff than at any point in the last decade. Many big businesses built up large cash reserves in the downturn. Now that confidence is returning they have money to invest in infrastructure and growing their workforces.” says Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director.

“The run up to Christmas has seen some of the UK’s biggest and best-known companies taking on staff in their thousands as they prepare for the seasonal rush. For example, Royal Mail has recruited 19,000 extra workers to deliver the nation’s Christmas gifts. And it is not just about creating new jobs – companies are increasingly offering extra incentives to tackle the shortages of skilled staff. For example Hermes, the parcel courier service, is using enhanced benefits to attract and retain the large number of drivers that they require for the peak season and into the new year,” continues Cahill.

The most optimistic sector forecast this quarter is Utilities, which increased four points to 16%, its most positive Outlook in two years. Cahill comments: “Energy companies are investing significantly in the UK, which is set to have a positive effect on the jobs market next year. Britain’s next nuclear power station at Hinkley Point has now received the green light from Brussels, and EDF Energy estimates that the plant could create 25,000 new employment opportunities. This is great news for the South West, which goes into the next quarter with an Outlook of 15%, more than twice the national average.”

“It’s not just infrastructure investment that has boosted optimism in this sector. New entrants in the domestic energy supply market, like Extra Energy, are recruiting several hundred customer service roles in Birmingham. And the sector’s buoyant jobs Outlook looks set to continue well into 2015 – with the widespread introduction of smart metering over the next couple of years we’re likely to see high demand for engineers, technicians, auditors and fitters.”

Utilities is not the only sector entering 2015 on a high. After a prolonged spell in the doldrums, 2015 could be Construction’s year. Mark Cahill again: “At 9%, employment prospects in the Construction sector now stand at their strongest level since 2007, up nine points on the previous quarter. In London we have seen the extraordinary statistic that one in three of the largest construction companies is having to turn down bidding opportunities due to a shortage of skilled labour. Construction firms need to think more creatively about how they deal with the skills shortage. Many of the large construction firms are taking on people at an earlier stage in their career, and investing in their development through training and apprenticeship programmes to ensure they’re equipped with the know-how for the job.”

North East England employers report the brightest Outlook among the regions, at 16%, its best showing for seven years. Cahill continues: “The growth in customer service roles is a significant driver of optimism in the North East. We’ve been recruiting for thousands of people across several contact centres – a huge source of employment in the region – and demand continues to outstrip the supply of candidates.”

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