Growing ‘skills gap’ problem for employers in the east, Manpower survey reveals

Manpower has published its latest quarter report on the state of the jobs market.

Manpower has published its latest quarter report on the state of the jobs market.

Competition for staff is hotting up in the East of England as employers in the region, which tops the table for hiring intentions, vie for candidates.

The region’s employers are the most optimistic in the UK, according to the latest jobs outlook survey by Manpower.

Job prospects in the east are above the national average for the 16th quarter running, with employers’ expectations up by one percentage point to stand at plus 10%, according to Manpower.

It calculates a Net Employment Outlook by subtracting those employers who plan to cut staffing levels from those who plan to hire. The West Midlands (+9%), London (+10%), and the South West (+10%) are also above the national average, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers

“Employers in the east are the most optimistic in the UK going into the second quarter of 2016, and it’s fantastic to see we are maintaining our strong start to the year,” said Manpower operations director Krissie Davies.

“This is the sixth consecutive quarter of above average hiring intentions in the east, as employers continue to seek good candidates, particularly in customer service and IT.”

But talent and skills shortages are hitting companies across the region across all types of roles, she said.

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“These talent shortages are fuelling a rise in the number of counter offers made to employees thinking of moving on, and many candidates are opting to accept the counter offer and remain with their current employer,” she said.

“Counter offers could prove risky for employers though. It’s important to understand the primary motivations behind seeking opportunities elsewhere as these are not always financial. We often see candidates on the job hunt again several months after accepting a counter offer once they have realised that they still desire change.”

Some employers are struggling to keep pace with the labour market, and some can be slow to take hiring decisions which means they lose good quality candidates who take up opportunities elsewhere, she said.

Nationally, hiring intentions among Britain’s employers in the first half of 2016 are at their strongest level since 2007.

The national seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook is at +7% for the second consecutive quarter.

But there are questions about whether this demand for talent can be fulfilled if Britain votes to leave the European Union.