Tuesday, June 12, 2007

UK employer summer hiring plans upbeat (Online Recruitment)

Onrec - UK employers plan to increase hiring for the third consecutive quarter with those in all industries and regions surveyed looking to recruit more staff over the summer months, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today. This is in spite of the continued high interest rates and concerns about inflation.

Employers in the Utilities, Finance & Business Services and Hotels & Retail sectors are reporting some of their strongest results with hiring to increase over the same time last year and last quarter.

Manpower’s latest survey of nearly 1,700 employers reveals that a favourable 21 per cent plan to take on more staff in the quarter ahead (July – September) and just six per cent plan to make staff reductions, giving a Net Employment Outlook¹ of +15%. 72 per cent of employers plan no change to their headcount. This Outlook is up one percentage point on Quarter 2 and two percentage points on the year. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Outlook is +14%.

Comments Mark Cahill, Managing Director of Manpower UK: “It is encouraging that UK employers feel positive about the future especially in the light of recent interest rate increases and inflation above the two percent target. The labour market has been remarkably robust and for now employers do not seem overly concerned.”

Finance & Business Services employers expect their most bullish third-quarter hiring activity since 1998. Over one quarter of firms (27 per cent) are planning to take on more staff over the next three months and just six per cent plan to make cut backs, giving a Net Employment Outlook of +21%. At the same time, confidence among employers in the Utilities sector is positive at +26% - the strongest third quarter result on record (since 2002).

Continues Cahill: “Hiring amongst Finance & Business Services employers is still strong although this brings continuing challenges of recruiting quality staff to meet demand. Additional Manpower research shows that accounting and finance staff are amongst the most difficult positions to fill in the UK and the number of vacancies is also increasing.”

Continuing consumer confidence is reflected in the Hotels & Retail sector with an Outlook of +16% - up on the year and on the last quarter. Employer confidence in this sector is being driven by increasing demand in the Leisure (hotels/restaurants) sub-sector where a balance of +32% of employers are taking on staff. High Street employers also plan to take on more staff with a balance of +9% looking to expand their headcount.

Comments Mark Cahill: ”The strong performance in the leisure and retail industry reflects continued consumer spending power and may be driven by people looking to holiday in the UK – partly thanks to the anticipated fine weather this summer. The good news is that demand for staff is being fully met – often thanks to employers maximising the opportunities of skilled migrant labour.”

At a regional level, employers in the South West and Northern Ireland are the most confident, recording Outlooks of +28 and +25%, respectively. Employers in the North East, North West, East and West Midlands all report figures above the national average. Employers in Yorkshire and Humberside, the South East and Scotland report Outlooks below the national average. London employers are the least optimistic of all regions surveyed with an Outlook of just +1% – a decline of 12 percentage points on the year and five points on the quarter. However, Manpower’s research also shows that the labour supply in the Capital is robust with few employers reporting problems filling vacancies

Across the countries surveyed in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, job prospects are strongest in Norway, South Africa, the UK, Germany and Sweden. Employers in Germany and Norway are reporting the most optimistic hiring intentions since the survey began in these countries. Italian employers report the weakest (though still positive) hiring expectations in the region.

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