East employers upbeat over jobs

EMPLOYERS in the East of England continue to be the most optimistic in the UK when it comes to taking on more staff, according to the latest survey by recruitment specialist Manpower.

EMPLOYERS in the East of England continue to be the most optimistic in the UK when it comes to taking on more staff, according to the latest survey by recruitment specialist Manpower.

One in five businesses (21%) in the region said they plan to increase their headcount this summer, when questioned about their hiring intentions for the period July to September 2008.

The figures released today in the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, a quarterly study of more than 2,100 UK employers, reveal a strong labour market in the East of England.

While 22% of employers plan to take on more staff, just 1% intend to reduce employee numbers, and 77% say they expect to make no changes to their staffing levels, giving a balance of plus 21%.


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This compares with a national average of +7% of businesses indicating they would be taking on more employees during the third quarter of the year.

Stuart Logan, Manpower's regional manager for the East, said: “Employer confidence is booming in the East.

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“This is reflected across a number of business sectors and towns. We have seen a marked increase in demand for workers within the public sector, especially in Chelmsford and Ipswich.

“Despite concerns over the wider economic impact of the credit crunch, employers in the finance and business services sector continue to recruit, with a particular demand for banking staff. We are also experiencing a boost in demand for customer services advisors and all centre workers within this sector.”

He added: “The increase in confidence is being led by an influx of businesses relocating to the region. This in turn is supported by an increase in new residential developments generating more jobs in the construction sector. The East is fast becoming one of the best places in the UK to live and to find work.”

Across the UK, 10 out of the 12 UK regions surveyed reported a hiring outlook below that of the same time last year. However only one region - Yorkshire & Humberside - was shown to be planning to reduce headcounts this summer with a negative result of minus 2%.

Although the East was the most optimistic of the regions for the third quarter, employer confidence in London, at 14%, was up by five percentage points on the last quarter and up 13 percentage points on the year.

By business sector, meanwhile, all employers indicated an intention to increase overall headcount levels. The finance and business services sector leads the UK's hiring plans for the summer, up five percentage points on the last quarter to plus12%. The least optimistic sectors are transport and communications (plus 3%), hotels and retail (plus 4%) and utilities (plus 4%).

However, seven out of 10 sectors surveyed reported a decline in hiring intentions compared to this time last year.

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