Hiring Plans Lowest for 17 Years


The hiring plans of UK employers are at their lowest level for 17 years.

According to Manpower’s latest quarterly Employment Outlook Survey, employers in all 12 UK regions surveyed report a decline in employment prospects year-on-year. This indicates that the effects of current economic conditions have spread to all regions and are no longer limited to specific geographical areas.

The majority of employers in the 9 industry sectors surveyed, expected to be making more staff cutbacks over the next 3 months. And 7 out of the 9 industry sectors report a decline in hiring confidence quarter-on-quarter, and eight of the nine show a decline year-on-year.

The industry sectors hardest hit are: Construction, Mining & Quarrying, Hotels & Retail, and Finance & Business Services.

While these hardest hit sectors come as no surprise, the Public and Utilities sectors – both of which have traditionally bucked negative hiring trends and retained upbeat employer confidence – are showing both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year declines. However, one bright spot is that employers in both sectors are reporting more positive employment outlooks for the April to June 2009 period.

Across the regions, employers in the West Midlands are the least optimistic and employers in London also report notably weaker employment prospects.

Mark Cahill, Managing Director of Manpower UK comments

“The recession is now having an all-encompassing effect on the UK jobs market. Indeed, ‘UK plc’ is having to balance profit with labour costs, so we are seeing inevitable workforce reductions in many sectors. Even as employers continue to explore innovative solutions to their shift patterns and working processes, indications are that this recession may become a longer-term economic challenge.

“People and their skills will always be a company’s greatest asset and employers need to work hard to retain them where they can. Employers should, where possible, take the opportunity now to re-skill and retrain workers so they are absolutely best placed for the upturn when it comes.”

He added:

“Indications are that the second quarter of 2009 will remain an employers market. Fierce competition for jobs will spell out even longer recruitment processes and place increased pressure on job seekers who face extra scrutiny as employers cherry pick the best candidates. Those job seekers who up-skill, undertake additional training, and accept temporary roles now, will maximise their longer-term chances of employment.”


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