Hiring intentions in Britain "strongest since 2007"

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Every region in the UK is optimistic about hiring, with the East, South West and London particularly so

Hiring intentions among Britain’s employers in the first half of 2016 are at their strongest level since 2007, according to ManpowerGroup.

The national seasonally-adjusted Net Employment Outlook, based on responses from 2,100 UK employers, is at +7% for the second consecutive quarter – a start to the year not seen for nearly 10 years.

Every region in the UK is optimistic about hiring, with the East, South West and London particularly so (all at +10%).

A slump in oil prices and its knock-on effect on consumer energy prices, which has led to all of the 'big six' energy companies announcing price cuts, is keeping optimism in utilities well below the +7% national average at +4%, down 13 points year-on-year.

Government policy is potentially influencing hiring decisions, with some retail and leisure firms looking to hire young workers before the National Living Wage comes into force next month, ManpowerGroup has suggested. Hiring among retailers stands at +8%, the highest level since 2007.

While these results appear to be good news for UK jobseekers, ManpowerGroup warns that employers could face a shortage of talent if Britain votes to leave the European Union.

Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup's UK and Ireland managing director, said that while there is a clear demand for workers at the moment the UK also needs to protect its supply of talent. “Employers of all shapes and sizes rely on the free movement of people inside Europe to find the skills they need,” he said. “The latest employment statistics show that of the 521,000 jobs created in the last 12 months, 215,000 were filled by people from elsewhere in the EU. Let’s be realistic: we simply won’t be able to replace overnight the skills these people bring to the UK if we leave the EU, and it’s our economy that will suffer.

“Unemployment is at its lowest level since 2006 – it’s unrealistic to suggest there’s enough slack in the labour market out there to fill these jobs,” he added.

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