Regional recruitment plans buck trend

EMPLOYERS in the East of England are continuing to buck the national trend with their positive hiring intentions, according to a survey. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, published today reveals a moderate labour market in the region, with more employers planning to increase staffing numbers than those planning to reduce them.

EMPLOYERS in the East of England are continuing to buck the national trend with their positive hiring intentions, according to a survey.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, published today reveals a moderate labour market in the region, with more employers planning to increase staffing numbers than those planning to reduce them.

The forward looking survey for the third quarter of 2009, conducted by UK employment services firm Manpower, assessed the hiring intentions of over 2,100 UK employers for July to September 2009.

The results reveal a moderate labour market in the east, with a net employment outlook of +2% reported for the fourth consecutive quarter. Year-over-year however, the region's outlook is nine percentage points weaker. As the most positive region in the UK, it is fairing better than the national net employment outlook, which is -6% for the second consecutive quarter.

In the east, 4% of employers plan to reduce staff numbers compared to 11% who plan to increase staffing levels, while 84% expect to make no change - indicating that the majority of employers in the region still intend to exercise caution before changing their headcount.

Employers within the public and social sector remain positive in the region, with colleges, universities and the NHS in particular being bolstered by significant Government backing.

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Michael Matthewman, Manpower's operations manager for the east, said: “As a business, we have seen a notable slowdown in hiring prospects recently, which is to be expected given the current economic downturn. However, we also continue to see significant demand for temporary workers - particularly within the public and social sector, within the NHS and at local colleges. Most notably though, we are starting to see an increase in roles available in areas including distribution and customer services.”

Employers in the south west are as optimistic as those in the east, with a net employment outlook of +2% also reported. However, employers in Northern Ireland are the least positive (-15%).

In London, employers remain downbeat in the current economic climate (-3%), with employer hiring confidence in the region declining by a further one percentage point since last quarter.

Head of commercial staffing Jason Greaves described the labour market conditions as “unprecedented”, but said there are still jobs out there.

“It is more important than ever though that job seekers consider all options available to them. Job seekers need to remain flexible and open-minded to new roles that will give them the best possible chance of gaining employment in the current climate,” he said.

“It's an employer's market right now with a greater number of candidates to choose from in the recruitment pool, so it is important for job seekers to continue investing in retraining or up-skilling to maintain a competitive edge.”