East’s labour market sees ‘solid’ return

EMPLOYERS in East Anglia are reporting a return to staffing levels not seen since before Britain was plunged into recession, a survey has found.

The employment outlook study, by Manpower, showed a “solid return” to pre-recession labour market conditions in the region - eight months after the country officially emerged from negative growth.

Based on responses from more than 2,100 UK employers, it revealed that the region’s employers planned to increase staffing levels over the next three months as they reported a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of +13%. The figure is stronger by four percentage points quarter-over-quarter and by eight percentage points year-over-year, and marks the region’s sixth consecutive quarter of positive hiring intentions. East Anglia also continues to report significantly stronger hiring intentions than the national average, which stands at +1% for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Gino Fasciani, operations manager at Manpower, said: “East Anglia has consistently been a strong performing UK region, and this quarter’s figures represent a confident return to pre-recession hiring intentions locally. As a business, we’re currently seeing demand for staff focussed within the utilities sector, as employers look to invest in permanent sales staff post-recession, and in retail banking for temporary customer service staff.”

In the other regions surveyed, employers in the West Midlands report the least positive hiring intentions at -9%, after it was hit by extensive job cuts in the automotive industry and the impact of public sector cuts. In contrast, the South West shows the greatest quarter-over-quarter improvement, with a 10 percentage point increase to reach +11%. In London, employer hiring confidence has fallen for the third consecutive quarter, to -3%.

“For employers, finding jobseekers with the right skills at the right time can sometimes be difficult, and in the UK there are concerns of a talent shortage,” said Mr Fasciani. Employers should consider candidates who may not have all of the specific skills a job requires and commit to re-skilling and up-skilling employees, new hires and potential candidates, he said.

“For jobseekers, investing in continued training and up-skilling will help maximise longer term employment,” he said. The importance of this should not be underestimated, he added.