Hiring confidence among UK employers is at its lowest since 1993 according to the latest Employment Outlook Survey from employment services group Manpower.
While the figures for the third quarter of 2008 are currently “stable” at 7%, employer hiring confidence has declined markedly over the same period last year.
Manpower’s Net Employment Outlook is calculated by subtracting those employers planning to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to recruit. The survey of 2,100 employers showed that 11% intend to recruit while 4% plan to reduce headcount.
Mark Cahill, managing director of Manpower UK, said the figures revealed a cautious labour market: “The impact of wider economic concerns has certainly made for an uncertain time for employers and employees alike,” he said.
Employers in the finance and business services sector have the strongest hiring confidence at +12%, up 5% on the last quarter, while those in transport, communications, hotel, retail and utilities sectors are the least optimistic.
“Most UK business sectors are reporting a weakening in confidence over the last 12 months, but only two reported a notable decrease over the last quarter,” added Cahill.
At a regional level, hiring confidence was strongest among employers in the east of the country at +21%, and weakest in Yorkshire (-2%). Employer confidence in London (+14%) increased by 5% in the past quarter and 13% year on year.