Employers expect fall in staff demand

Demand for staff is expected to drop in the second quarter of this year,
according to a survey of employment prospects.

The Manpower Quarterly Survey of Employment Prospects, shows that a net
balance of 11 per cent of UK employers will be taking on staff between April
and June 2003 – a drop of 2 per cent from the previous quarter.

This is the lowest second-quarter result in four years and the only time in
a decade that the net balance has fallen in the second quarter.

The survey polled 2,000 UK firms across 11 regions and 21 industry sectors,
asking whether they expected an increase, decrease or no change in their
staffing levels for the quarter ahead.

The 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. It is the lowest second-quarter result for
four years and the second successive quarter-on-quarter fall, suggesting the
recent rally in manufacturing prospects may be over.

Service, retail, hotels and restaurants all anticipate quarter-on-quarter
drops in staffing demand.

However, the public sector continues to buck the trend, reporting significant
increases in staff, with a net balance of 17 per cent.

Hazel Detsiny from Manpower said: "Times are uncertain and trading
conditions are tough, but there is still optimism, with the public sector
generating excellent employment opportunities, and all of the regions –
particularly the North – creating more jobs."


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