HR jobs market still in decline despite recession easing

HR continues to be one of the worst hit sectors during the recession after the number of job vacancies in the profession remained at the second lowest level in 15 months, a report has warned.

The May 2009 Monster Employment Index stayed at a level of 56, the same level recorded in April for HR professionals. This is the second worst reading after January’s figure of 52, the lowest level recorded in the past 15 months.

In April last year the index – compiled from an analysis of millions of online job opportunities culled from corporate career sites and job boards – measured 175 for the HR sector.

Hugo Sellert, head of economic research at Monster Worldwide, told Personnel Today the HR sector continued to be one of the worst hit in the recssion. He said: “We can unfortunately conclude there has not been any improvements in the hiring of HR professionals. It is still the case that HR is one of the worst sectors hit by the recesssion and has seen one of the sharpest declines [in hiring].”

Sellert added because the index had levelled off, it showed the HR jobs market could be improving “a little” despite still being in decline. However, he said it would take at least until September 2009 before job opportunities increased for HR professionals.

HR had a significant role to play in urging their companies to prepare for the upturn he said, to take advantage of key skills in the marketplace as early as possible. “The summer will be crucial to see how deep the recession will last. It’s crucial for companies to position themselves well in terms of their HR department – some economists say that when the economy gets back on track there will be intense competition for companies in terms of hiring,” he said.

The UK index fell by 2% in May, from 112 to 109 points, offsetting growth seen in April. Overall, the Index is down 40% year-on-year.

By contrast, hiring in hospitality and tourism jumped 12% by 15 points, due to robust seasonal hiring for service and sales workers in London, the South East and Wales. However, although online job availability in the sector is now at a five-month high, the category was still down by 19% year-on-year.

The Monster Employment Index uses a baseline of 100 – drawn from December 2004 – as the basis for comparing online recruitment trends.

See Analysis: HR demand and the recession.

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