Firms scale back hiring plans

EMPLOYERS in the East of England have signalled their intention to slow down recruitment plans in the final three months of the year, according to Manpower's quarterly employment outlook survey.

EMPLOYERS in the East of England have signalled their intention to slow down recruitment plans in the final three months of the year, according to Manpower's quarterly employment outlook survey.

After leading UK hiring plans for the past two quarters, the region's employers have reined in their optimism for the rest of the year.

The quarterly survey questioned more than 2,100 UK employers about their hiring intentions for the period from October to December. The figures released today reveal a flat labour market in the East of England.

Eight percent say they plan to take on more staff, 7% indicate they will be cutting staff numbers and 85% expect no change to staffing levels, giving a balance of +1%. This remains above the national average of -1%.


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Stuart Logan, Manpower's regional manager for the East, said: “Business confidence in the region has weakened as employers take a wait and see approach to employment. This is reflected in hiring plans across the East which are expected to slow in the coming months.

“Despite concerns over the current business climate and weakening employer confidence, some sectors are still recruiting. In particular, public sector hiring is booming with many temporary jobs turning into permanent opportunities.

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“In contrast, we have seen a drop off in customer services roles in the finance and business services sector and a slowdown in the construction sector. Employers in these sectors are halting recruitment plans for the foreseeable future. In spite of the flattening outlook, we still have lots of jobs on our books and the East is still an attractive place to find work.”

Across the rest of the country, the most optimistic employers are to be found in London. Only 1% say they are planning cutbacks while 9% intend to add to their headcount, giving an outlook balance of +8%. Employers in the South West are also confident about recruiting more staff with a balance of +7%.

Employers in the South East report the weakest hiring confidence (-9%) of all the regions surveyed, while the most movement is expected in the North East jobs market where just 65% expect to keep hiring levels the same, 16% are planning reductions and 13% say they will be taking on more staff.

By business sector, four of the nine business sectors reported a recruitment confidence above the -1% national average. Utilities employers are the most optimistic this quarter reporting an outlook of +8%, manufacturing bosses are also bucking the national trend with a +3% outlook, as are those in transport and communications, also +3%, and the community and social sectors with a +2% outlook.

Not surprisingly, construction employers are the most cautious currently with a hiring outlook of -10% for the rest of the year, a decline of 19 percentage points on the same period last year.

More than 75% of employers across all sectors indicated they expect to make no changes in staffing levels.

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