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Is this a “Goldilocks” job market – not too hot and not too cold

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Construction is digging its way out of recession, London hiring intentions now the most optimistic in 5 years. National Outlook of plus vie percent for the third quarter of 2013, remains firmly positive

UK’s Employment Outlook remains firmly positive, according to ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions. With an Outlook of +5 percent, employers across the UK are looking to take on staff in the third quarter of 2013, demonstrating that the jobs market shows no major sign of a let up. 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 economic 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 +5 percent[1] indicates sustained optimism in the UK jobs market, building on the first half of 2013 when the Outlook was +6 percent. “As we head into the summer months, the UK jobs market is not too hot, but not too cold either. It’s all about the Three ‘C’s: Construction, the Capital, and Consistency,” said ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director, Mark Cahill. The first ‘C’ is Construction. The sector has endured a torrid five years since the credit crunch began, but it now looks like Construction might be about to dig its way out of recession- it’s the most improved sector this quarter up 5 points. This is vital because the abysmal performance of Construction has been a huge drag on the whole UK economy, and is one of the main reasons we’ve had a double dip recession. At ManpowerGroup, we’re starting to see rising demand for skills across the board, particularly in skilled trades and engineers.

Nowhere is this more visible than in the UK’s Capital, the second of the Three C’s. London has delivered a chart-topping score of +13 percent this time round. Cahill continues: “Glance up and you’ll see that there are more cranes on the London skyline than in the rest of the country put together. But it’s not just fancy skyscrapers like the “Cheesegrater” and the “Walkie Talkie”– if you look down you’ve also got Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project with 42km of tunnel connecting the city from East to West.

It’s not just the Construction Sector that is helping propel London to the top of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey leader board. The so called “flat white” industries of technology, media and advertising are also fuelling job prospects in the capital. The term comes from the coffee favoured by tech workers who cluster around East London’s Silicon Roundabout, home to Tech City. Job creation here has contributed to Business Services registering a score of +14 percent. The third ‘C’ is Consistency. Cahill continues: “We’ve had two quarters of UK hiring intentions at +6 percent and with a +5 percent score this time round, 2013 is turning into a solidly optimistic year. To put that into perspective, average hiring intentions in 2011 and 2012 bumped along the bottom (average score of +2 percent).”

While consistency is the story at the national level, it seems the closer one is to London the more optimistic one’s job prospects are. In the East of England the score is +13 percent, the South West and the South East show high scores of +9 percent and + 6 percent respectively, with similar numbers in the West Midlands +8 percent and East Midlands +5 percent. But head to the North West and the score drops to +2 percent, with the North East alone in chalking up the only negative regional score this quarter (-2 percent). Scotland only just keeps its head above water this time with a +1 percent score, while Northern Ireland is flat-lining at 0 percent.

Cahill is keen to stress that despite the regional variations, there are jobs being created across the UK: “For workers with in-demand skills in key sectors, businesses are hiring. It’s vital to stress that these are not just the temporary, part-time positions people typically associate with a tough economic climate – we’ve had a number of companies instructing us to look for highly skilled permanent staff. A good example of this is the engineering firm Babcock which has appointed us to recruit a very significant number of skilled workers to support their continued growth.”

While engineers and other skilled workers are clearly in demand, there are also other career opportunities out there. Take the High Street which has had a tough time this year – where there once stood a Blockbuster or an HMV, you will now see a convenience store from one of the supermarket giants. Mark Cahill again: “Morrisons is an excellent example of a company continuing to invest to create sustainable jobs. They have approached us to hire 1,500 team members in support of their plans to open 100 convenience stores up and down the country – these local jobs offer an opportunity to those looking for a new career, with training and development prospects at their heart – coming soon to a high street near you.”

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