New Year brings gloomy outlook for UK staff levels

Companies expect to make more redundancies in the UK over the next year than
elsewhere in Europe.

The annual UPS Europe Business Monitor reveals that 36 per cent of UK firms
expect to downsize during 2002 compared to an average 30 per cent of companies
from other European countries that anticipate shedding jobs.

In the UK, 15 per cent of business leaders expect to take on more employees
and 47 per cent predict staffing levels will stay the same.

Despite the gloomy predictions on job losses, 56 per cent of UK business
leaders expect their companies’ performance will pick up over the next 12
months.

Across Europe the proportion of organisations optimistic about their
performance over the next year is only 44 per cent.

According to the study the UK is joint third with Germany in the table for
predicted growth in 2002, behind Spain and France in first and second places
respectively.

Mike Kiely, UPS finance director for Northern Europe, said, "Europe’s
business leaders obviously think the UK is in a strong position and cast their
votes for the UK after Spain and France. Importantly, UK captains of industry
believe this and voted for the UK in large numbers."

The study finds that the events of 11 September had a bigger impact in the
UK than the rest of Europe. In the UK 17 per cent of respondents report laying
off staff as a direct result of the terrorist attacks, while only 5 per cent of
organisations across Europe axed staff after the event.

Kiely added, "One consideration is the way the UK and US economies are
linked historically. The banking and services sectors in particular are closely
allied."

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