UK employment prospects strongest in five years

By Hannah Jordan, Thursday 13 September 2012

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Employment forecasts for Q4 of 2012 reflect the most positive outlook among employers since 2008, according to new figures.


Hick: "outlook is brighter for candidates"

The quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, used as a benchmark by the government and the Bank of England, asks 2,100 employers across the UK whether they intend to hire extra staff or contract their workforce during the coming business quarter.

Only 5% of respondents expected to contract, while 82% anticipated staffing levels to remain stable and 5% expected growth in their employment levels. Meanwhile the survey revealed a national ‘net employment outlook’ of +3%, up from +2% in Q3.

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 percentage result indicates that more employers plan to increase rather than decrease staffing levels while a negative percentage result reflects the opposite.

The latest figures show that small, medium and large companies expect to hire with an outlook of +9%, +5% and +7% respectively.

Among nine different sectors surveyed finance and business services reported the most positive outlook at +9% while manufacturing were the second most positive sector with an outlook of +7%, level with Q3 and a 2% year-on-year increase.

James Hick managing director of Manpower Group Solutions UK said: "We’ve been saying that the jobs market is heading in the right direction since the beginning of the year.

"Understandably this has been met with scepticism because of the disappointing GDP figures. However in recent months the official employment statistics have started to catch up with our predictions."

He added: "These figures demonstrate that the uptick in the jobs market is no flash in the pan. The outlook is brighter for candidates."

Hick said that businesses were now looking for flexibility in their prospective candidates.

"Permanent posts with regular hours aren’t in as much abundance as they used to be, but that doesn’t have to be a negative. There is well rewarded work out there especially for those who are prepared to adjust, get ready for work and demonstrate they’ve got in-demand skills," he concluded.

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