UK Employment Outlook Best for Three Years

According to Manpower, the recruitment company, the employment outlook in the UK over the next three months is the best for three years, with small businesses the most likely to take on more staff.

The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from over 2,100 UK employers about whether they intend to hire additional workers in the coming economic quarter.

The Survey found a positive national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook of plus 3 per cent, which indicates employers are intending to create additional jobs in the next three months; this compares with a Net Employment Outlook of plus 2 per cent in Quarter 2 2011. The ‘Net Employment Outlook’ is calculated by subtracting those employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff. A positive result indicates that more employers plan to increase rather than decrease staffing levels; a negative result reflects the opposite.

Within the private sector, it is only small and medium enterprises employing between 10 and 199 people that are predicting job creation with a plus 8 per cent Outlook. However, hiring intentions among the UK’s largest businesses have fallen for the third successive quarter and now remain flat.

Hiring intentions are strongest in the Finance, Banking and Business services sector, but the Agriculture, Transport, Utilities and Manufacturing sectors also all report positive hiring intentions. 

Regionally, employers in the West Midlands are the most positive about taking on new staff, whilst employers in the North West, Wales and Scotland are the least likely to do so.

Mark Cahill, UK Managing Director of Manpower commented: “It seems when it comes to job vacancies, small is beautiful.”

“Candidates sometimes assume that bigger is better when it comes to employers, but these statistics clearly point to the opposite. SMEs were amongst the first to shed jobs during the recession, but we’re now seeing them build their workforce again and becoming an increasingly important source of job creation in the UK. The greatest unmet demand is for highly sought-after candidates in national skills shortage roles, such as engineers and IT specialists. Engineers have, it seems, become the new plumbers!”

Although the public sector continues to report a negative Outlook, with hiring intentions of minus 2 per cent in the next quarter, this negative public sector figure is not as pessimistic as before, calling into question the size of the cutback in the civil service of central government.

Cahill continued:
“We’ve been warned for such a long time to expect large scale public sector job cuts in central government, but in our experience that is just not happening. If the government really intends to make the large scale redundancies initially suggested, ministers must realise that the longer they wait to start this process the harder it will eventually become. Current conditions therefore do call into question whether the big redundancies will happen at all. As one of the leading providers of personnel to both government and the private sector, we’re now confident that job creation in the private sector, particularly among SMEs, can now fill the gap created by job losses in the public sector.”

The more upbeat message on employment prospects is reinforced by the news from jobs website Monster UK, showing that recruitment has risen by 5 per cent over the past year and that 11 of the 21 sectors monitored by their Employment Index have shown positive growth year-on-year.

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