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HR News Update – UK Employment outlook strong

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The UK’s Employment Outlook is at its strongest level since the downturn, according to ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions. With an Outlook of +8 percent, employers across the UK intend to take on staff in the third quarter of 2014 – and not even the uncertainty facing the future of the United Kingdom is dampening job prospects in Scotland.  

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,101 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 +8 percent[1] indicates that the jobs market is up on the second quarter of 2014 when the Outlook was +7 percent. “Consistency has been the byword for the UK’s Employment Outlook over the last eighteen months. While job prospects have been strong, it’s only now that we’re seeing a return to pre-recession hiring plans. What’s more, we’re seeing broad-based growth across permanent roles, the self-employed and contractors,” said Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum on 18th September, ManpowerGroup’s research suggests this is not deterring businesses north of the border from hiring. With an Outlook of +8 percent, Scottish hiring intentions are at a seven-year high, following a jump of five points on the last quarter. Cahill continues: “You’d think with a big question mark hanging over Scotland’s future, businesses would be hesitant to take on staff. We’ve seen big names like Standard Life announce plans to relocate in the event of a ‘yes' vote, but this doesn’t seem to be subduing the spirits of Scottish employers. We should also remember that this is a busy time for Scotland – the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles could be triggering some of the confidence we’re seeing.”

“Many of these roles will be temporary, but based on our involvement with the London Olympics in 2012, we shouldn’t underestimate the impact that an upturn in attitude can have on the outlook of a region. The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee alone has announced that it will be employing over 1,000 people this summer, and research has shown that each £100 million spent as a result of tourism will help support an extra 1,300 full-time positions in the wider Scottish economy. 70 percent of all jobs created by the Games are expected to be in distribution and catering, and these short term roles provide a real opportunity for young people to gain the experience required to get a foothold in the jobs market.” 

The summer of sport will no doubt benefit the Retail and Leisure sector, with ManpowerGroup also expecting the World Cup in Brazil to have a positive impact on UK jobs. “Preparation for the World Cup has boosted the Employment Outlook in Retail and Leisure to its most positive level since 2007, at +6 percent. It has recently been reported that Domino’s Pizza is looking to recruit 1,300 people to deliver an extra 6 million pizzas over the course of the World Cup, and with alcohol sales predicted to rise by £20m during the tournament, it’s going to be a very busy season for the leisure industry.”

“In the wider retail sector, we’ve been asked by Morrisons to recruit hundreds of new permanent roles across the country. Elsewhere, Aldi is also looking long-term as it plans to hire an additional 5,000 members of staff by the end of the year to support its expansion across the country. While mergers might normally be associated with job cuts, two of the biggest names on the high street – Dixons and Carphone Warehouse – have announced their proposed tie-up is set to create 1,600-plus new roles. This is all great news for a sector that has been bruised for several years by the downturn.”

It is not just in the private sector that job creation is on the rise. The ManpowerGroup Survey reveals that hiring confidence in the public sector has risen more sharply than in the private sector. The public sector outlook is up six points on last quarter at +8 percent, just one point off the private sector level. Mark Cahill again: “While it’s been well-publicised that local councils have had to shed staff in recent years, we’re now seeing what appears to be a reversal of this trend. There has also been a shift in the type of applicant that public sector organisations are seeking. Along with more traditional roles, public sector employers are recruiting flexible candidates who can help implement the changes we’ve seen in public service provision.”

Going into the third quarter of 2014, there is optimism across all of the UK’s regions with the exception of Northern Ireland (-5 percent). It is the only region expecting to shed jobs in the next three months. The South West tops the regional table, improving strongly to +15 percent, while the East of England isn’t far behind on +12 percent. The East Midlands (+11 percent), the South East (+9 percent) and the West Midlands (+9 percent) all exceed the national average, while Yorkshire and Humberside is in line with the national picture at +8 percent. Below the national average, but still showing positive hiring intentions are the North West (+7 percent), the North East (+6 percent), Wales (+4 percent) and London (+1 percent).


[1]Unless otherwise stated, all figures reported are based on seasonally adjusted data.

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