European business remains pessimistic over jobs

Business
leaders in Europe remain pessimistic over employment prospects for the coming
year, according to research.

The
12th UPS Europe Business Monitor reveals that only 19 per cent of European
business leaders predict their company will increase their workforce while 29
per cent believe they will have to cut staff.

The
UK’s predictions are more optimistic, however. Nearly half the UK executives
surveyed believe their company will keep their workforce stable, just under a
third report that they expect to be forced to reduce workforces across 2003,
while 19 per cent expect to increase their workforces.

Looking
to the rest of Europe, the situation remains varied. France’s figures
demonstrate a more positive outlook in workforce employment than the last two
years. Although those managers predicting job cuts still outnumber those
expecting to take on more staff, the net figure (those employers predicting an
increase in workforces minus those predicting a decrease) has changed from a
net -16 per cent in 2001 to a net -11 per cent in 2002.

However
in Belgium, Germany and Italy business leaders anticipate a further drop in
employment demand.

Spain
is the only country bucking the employment trend. Alongside predictions of
significant economic growth, Spanish business leaders predict an 11 per cent
net rise in their workforce in 2003, with 28 per cent forecasting they will
increase their workforce and only 17 per cent planning to cut staff.

By Ben Willmott

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