Employment prospects set to fall

UK
employment prospects are expected to drop in the second quarter, according to a
survey.

The
Manpower Quarterly Survey of Employment Prospects, shows that a net balance of
11 per cent of UK employers will be taking on staff in the period April-June
2003. This is the lowest second-quarter result in four years and is the only
time in a decade that the net balance has fallen from the first to the second
quarter.

The
Manpower survey asked 2,000 UK companies, across 11 regions and 21 industry
sectors, if they expect an increase, decrease or no change in their staffing
levels for the quarter ahead.  A ‘net
balance’ of job gains is calculated by subtracting the employers planning to
decrease staffing levels from the number of employers planning to take on
staff.

Manufacturing
has reported a net balance of 4 per cent, well below the national average of 11
per cent. This is the lowest second-quarter result in four years, and the
second successive quarter-on-quarter fall, suggesting the recent rally in
prospects for manufacturing may be over.

Despite
being above the national average with a net balance of 14 per cent, services is
down slightly on the last quarter.

The
finance sector isn’t looking good. Job losses are predicted for the first time
in seven years (8 per cent net balance, a 10-year low).

High
street retailers have reported their lowest Q2 result since 1993, with a net 7
per cent anticipating taking on more staff in the second quarter.

The
hotels & restaurants sector has also reported its lowest second-quarter
balance since 1992, as global instability impacts on tourism.

The
public sector continues to report significant increases in staff, with a net
balance of 17 per cent this quarter, well above the national average.  Health and education are key to positive
public sector job prospects, with net job gains of 24 per cent and 16 per cent
respectively.

Hazel
Detsiny from Manpower said: "Employment prospects in the public sector are
extremely strong. Despite a slowing of job prospects, it is important to
remember that the UK still suffers from skills shortages and the private sector
will need to continue to compete for talent with the public sector.

"Times
are uncertain and trading conditions tough, but there is still optimism, with
the public sector generating excellent employment opportunities and all of the
regions, particularly in the North, creating more jobs."

The
UK’s strongest employment prospects are in media and sport, with a net balance
of 29 per cent. Other strong sectors are construction and utilities, which have
reported their best second-quarter result in the last decade (26 per cent and
13 per cent respectively) and telecommunications, which has reported a 15 per
cent net balance, up 7 percentage points year-on-year.

By Quentin Reade

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